Webinar: The Trojan Horse Affair exposed – and why it’s important

This webinar outlines how the Trojan Horse Affair in Birmingham was a formative event in the significant expansion of Prevent from being about countering violent extremism, to countering extremism.

Dr Layla Aitlhadj introduces how the Trojan Horse Affair unraveled, especially their impact on school children and the securitising of education, through the making of teaching ‘fundamental British values’ as a legal duty under Prevent.

Special guests include Prof. John Holmwood, who was an expert witness in the case against the accused teachers – who were later exonerated – and Naeem Mian QC.

The honourable QC interviews Prof. Holmwood, who gives the broader context of the Trojan Horse Affair in relation to the prevailing breakdown in what had been a positive discourse on multiculturalism, the rise of right-wing ideology in government and media, and its direct impact on schools with large ethnic minorities – despite the fact that these schools were starting to become strong beacons of achievement.

This interview is interesting because it touches on the character of Park View school – an immensely successful school that had been turned around to an outstanding school from a failing school in 1996, a ‘dramatic success’ and a ‘shining example’, even by the Department of Education’s own statements.

The influence of the government’s Academies programme under Michael Gove meant that outstanding schools had to become sponsors to failing schools – and Park View was asked by the Department to take over other failing schools, including failing ‘faith’ schools – and the Department knew it had an Islamic ethos.

This made the school more isolated because it was no longer under local authority supervision – and also more vulnerable – and in the end, Park View itself decided that running a faith school was incompatible with its multicultural ethos.

Earlier Ofsted reports if Park View were glowing and it even commended its collective worship practices, but were later removed.

There are many more important points in this podcast – the tragic irony of Tahir Alam’s experience and the deep injustice done to him, certain gender-based statements made in teacher WhatsApp groups taken out of context – and other points that will interest researchers and journalists tasked with the Trojan Horse Affair.

It can be viewed here.

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