The alleged ‘Trojan Horse’ plot involving a number of schools in Birmingham is not connected to faith schools, the Catholic Education Service (CES) has said.
“Many people are confusing extremism with religion. It should be clarified that the alleged problems in Birmingham concern a number of community schools not faith schools. Catholic schools and other faith schools should not be penalised in response to these allegations,” said a spokesman for CES, an agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
On Monday Ofsted published a report on its inspection of 21 schools in Birmingham after an anonymous letter alleging a plot to take over schools in the city (‘Operation Trojan Horse’) was being carried out by fundamentalist Muslims.
In its report Ofsted revealed head teachers claims that there was an organised campaign to impose a “narrow, faith-based ideology” at some schools in Birmingham. Five of the city’s schools have been placed in special measures after “deeply worrying” findings.
“A culture of fear and intimidation has taken grip” in the schools caught up in the alleged plot, said Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw.
CES said they welcome “the role of Ofsted in ensuring accountability and inclusive education for all, regardless of belief”.
“Catholic schools are a place where pupils come together to lean about faith in an open and informative way to question and form their own understandings of their faith,” added the spokesman.
“Catholic schools exist to provide high academic standards and the formation of the whole person. They are not places of indoctrination or proselytisation. Catholic schools are an integrated part of local communities with more pupils from ethnic minority backgrounds and deprived areas than national averages.”
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