Governors at a school placed in special measures over the alleged hardline Muslim plot to take over governing boards have resigned in protest, calling the Ofsted report "flawed". Board members at Saltley School said they "have been left with little faith or trust" in the inspection process or Birmingham City Council in the fall-out over the Trojan Horse allegations.
The city council said the governors were due to be replaced in due course anyway following the school's "inadequate" Ofsted rating in a report published earlier this month. Out-going board members criticised the Ofsted inspectors for not clearly concluding whether there was an "Islamic agenda" or not in the school's classrooms.
In their statement, entitled their "final response" on the matter, the governors said: "It is the Governors' view that the inspection and the report are flawed." Saltley School, which has about 950 pupils, was among 21 city schools inspected by Ofsted as part of the Trojan Horse claims.
Of those, five were rated inadequate and placed in special measures, including four academies which are overseen by the Department For Education (DfE), together with Saltley for which the city council is responsible. One school was already in special measures, 10 more were told to make improvements, and three schools were given a clean bill of health.
The report into Saltley found governance to be "inadequate", concluding "many of the governors refuse to accept the school is in a state of crisis". The Saltley governors said: "Though we have challenged both the way the Ofsted inspection was carried out and the conclusions it came to, the governing board has no resources to take this further. Therefore we have decided to resign in protest."
The statement concluded by wishing the secondary school's students "every success".
Ofsted has said it has full confidence in its processes and the inspections carried out. A Birmingham City Council spokesman said: "We had made clear our intention to work with the school and the DfE to seek to put in place an interim executive board as part of the response to the school being placed in special measures.
"We share the commitment of the outgoing governors to the success of young people in Saltley school and are very determined to see this school return to being the good school it once was as quickly as possible."
The Trojan Horse claims originally stemmed from an anonymous and unsigned letter sent to the media, unions and the council alleging there was a plot by hardline Muslims called "Operation Trojan Horse", to take over school governing bodies in the city and force out unco-operative staff.
The saga has triggered four inquiries, including on-going investigations by the DfE and the city council, and even sparked a political row in the cabinet. In the aftermath, Prime Minister David Cameron has backed the promotion of "British values" in schools. A public meeting is being held in the city next week for the parents and communities affected by the fall-out from Trojan Horse, with former chief education officer for Birmingham and London schools commissioner Sir Tim Brighouse due to speak.
Here's a handy timeline of the scandal.