A war of words has broken out after West Midlands Police condemned a government decision to appoint a former counter terrorism police boss to investigate the Trojan Horse allegations.
Chief Constable Chris Sims described the appointment of Peter Clarke as “desperately unfortunate”, saying it would “inevitably draw unwarranted conclusions from his former role as national co-ordinator for counter terrorism.”
Mr Clarke has been brought in by Education Secretary Michael Gove to lead a Department for Education review claims of an alleged schools takeover plot by hard-line Islamists. Ofsted has inspected 15 Birmingham schools and the first reports are due shortly.
But Mr Sims questioned the appointment.
He said: “I am a strong supporter of open and inclusive education for all children in Birmingham and across the West Midlands and am committed to the process adopted by Birmingham City Council with educational and social inclusion at its heart.”
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones also waded into the row. He said: “This appointment gives the clear impression that the issues around Trojan Horse are predominantly around counter-terrorism issues..”
Birmingham City Council confirmed on Monday that it was investigating 25 schools and that a former head teacher, Ian Kershaw, has been appointed as its own chief adviser.
Leader of the city council Sir Albert Bore said: “Peter Clarke will need to give careful consideration to building a strong relationship with us and, given his recent counter-terrorism responsibilities in London, ensure that his investigation does not undermine the confidence of our communities.
“However, in the interests of the children and young people of the city, I will ensure that Peter Clarke and his team have every opportunity to add value to the work of our chief advisor, Ian Kershaw.”
Explaining the appointment of Mr Clarke, Michael Gove said: “Wider, more comprehensive action is needed. These allegations need either to be substantiated and firm action taken, or to be shown to be baseless.”