Claims that a Birmingham school is failing to protect pupils from extremist views have been criticised by the local MP - who insisted it was NOT an extremist school.
John Hemming (Lib Dem Yardley) came to the defence of Golden Hillock School in his constituency after an Ofsted report was leaked.
The report, expected to be published formally next week, said the school should be placed in special measures because “too little is done to keep students safe from the risks associated with extremist views.”
Mr Hemming pointed out that that the chair of governors, Mohammed Shafique, is a well known local Labour Party activist who has been chair of Sparkbrook Labour Party.
He said: “I have known Mohammed Shafique for 15 years and he may be a member of a different party to me but he is not an extremist.”
Labour officials in London released a statement condemning Education Secretary Michael Gove for allowing the school to be taken over by hard-liners, apparently accepting as fact the claims in the leaked Ofsted report.
It’s the latest in a series of farcical events as senior politicians in London argue over Birmingham schools and the supposed "Trojan Horse" plot while local parents are kept in the dark.
An Ofsted report into Park View school in Alum Rock was leaked in May - but it has still not been published formally.
It has emerged that Mr Gove blamed Theresa May, the Home Secretary, for failing to be tough with extremists when he had lunch with journalists from The Times, the newspaper for which he used to work.
Mrs May’s advisers responded by publishing a letter from the Home Secretary to Mr Gove accusing his department of failing to act against extremists - and published a link to the letter on the official Home Office Twitter feed.
David Cameron, the Prime Minister, ordered the pair to stop fighting and explain themselves to him.
Now, an Ofsted report into Golden Hillock School has been leaked, showing inspectors believe the school is “not doing enough to mitigate against cultural isolation” and this “could leave students vulnerable to the risk of marginalisation from wider British society and the associated risks which could include radicalisation.”
But once again, the report has not been published officially, allowing parents and others to judge its findings for themselves.
Park View Educational Trust, which runs Golden Hillock schools, issued a statement insisting: “We do not recognise the accounts we have seen in the media as accurate or reasonable descriptions of our schools.” The Trust said it would comment further once the report was published.
But Labour’s national PR team issued a statement from Tristram Hunt, the Shadow Education Secretary and Stoke MP, which appeared to endorse all the Ofsted findings.
The statement said he was “responding to the publication of the leaked Ofsted inspection report into Golden Hillock School” and quoted him saying: “Gender discrimination, undue influence of extremist views, the school curriculum influenced by hard-line beliefs. This report confirms that Michael Gove can no longer seek to distance himself from this episode. He is responsible.”
Mr Hemming said: “Ofsted seem to have taken the approach of shoot first and ask questions later.
“There may be some genuine criticisms to be made of the school but I am very unhappy with the broad brush approach that has been taken with people who are working hard to improve standards”.
It follows reports that hardline Muslims are trying to take over schools although Golden Hillock, despite having an overwhelmingly Muslim pupil intake, is led by headteacher Hardeep Saini, a Sikh.
The last Ofsted inspection of Golden Hillock, published in January 2013, found that the school “requires improvement” because teaching was not consistently good, but made no mention of extremism.
The school left local authority management and became an academy sponsored by Park View Educational Trust in October 2013. The Trust is based at Park View School, which has been at the centre of allegations of an extremist plot.
While Golden Hillock is in Mr Hemming’s constituency, many of the pupils live in neighbouring Hall Green constituency represented by MP Roger Godsiff (Lab Hall Green). He said: “Ofsted have questions to answer about how the new report can be so different to the report published last year.”