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National Governors’ Association was part of the Review Group set up by Birmingham City Council to review and comment upon the findings of Ian Kershaw, the independent chief adviser. The review group’s report, drawn up in a matter of a few hours after receipt of Ian Kershaw’s investigation report, accepts the overall direction set by the ICA’s investigation and recommendations. NGA is also considering the fine detail of Peter Clarke’s report into allegations of Trojan Horse letter, but an initial consideration of its conclusion unsurprisingly shows considerable overlap with Ian Kershaw’s report.
Emma Knights, Chief Executive of the National Governors’ Association said: “It is of course of great concern that small groups of activists attempted to use the role of school governor or academy trustee to subvert the ethos of some schools in east Birmingham to emphasise the differences between cultures, rather than fostering tolerance and equality. We acknowledge that all the inspections and investigations into the Trojan Horse allegations found examples of poor governance; and much work needs to be done to ensure that governance is of a high standard in every school in England. The reports also raise bigger questions which remain to be answered in detail, such as how schools, including academies, are overseen (between inspections) and the role of faith and worship within our schools.
The NGA welcomes the Secretary of State’s announcement of an Educational Commissioner for Birmingham within the council to oversee its actions to address the fundamental criticisms in the Kershaw and Clarke reports, accountable jointly to her and the Chief Executive of the Council. NGA looks forward to engaging with the Commissioner and all relevant partners to take forward recommendations and find solutions to these difficult and often emotive issues, in order to minimise the risk of this happening again in any school. NGA is unconvinced that no-notice inspections alone will allow Ofsted to uncover similar governance situations, unless more time and expertise is assigned to inspecting governance, and we will be contributing to the forthcoming consultation.”
UPDATE: NGA has produced a briefing concentrating on lessons for and recommendations on governance for our members.
UPDATE: the Education Select Committee met on Tuesday 2nd September to discuss extremism in schools. Read more here.