Coffee House

Nicky Morgan and Tristram Hunt respond to the ‘Trojan horse’ schools report

22 July 2014

Nicky Morgan described the findings of Peter Clarke’s report into the Birmingham schools scandal as ‘disturbing’, and laid out how she plans to respond.

Morgan announced that Sir Bob Kerslake, the outgoing head of the home civil service, will conduct a review into the affair. A new education commissioner will be appointed for Birmingham. The Secretary of State will take greater control if necessary. Morgan outlined how teachers who invite extremist speakers will be disciplined, and explained that Ofsted will have greater oversight of governors — including in academies and free schools.

‘British values’ were central to Morgan’s statement because ‘extremism’ has been defined as those values which contradict British values. Morgan defined ‘British values’ as being ‘tolerance’ and ‘the rule of law’ (described in the Ofsted inspection handbook) in the subsequent debate. ‘Ofsted will inspect how well all schools are actively promoting British values,’ she said.


After the storms between Gove and May, Morgan is evidently keen to bury internal rivalries. She was quick to praise Theresa May: ‘No Home Secretary and no government,’ she said, ‘has done more to tackle extremism.’ Yet her statement was entirely in keeping with the approach favoured by Michael Gove. Indeed, Morgan defended Gove’s conduct, and said that those who hope to use this scandal to derail the government’s education reforms will be disappointed, which inspired cheers on the Tory benches.

One such person is Tristram Hunt. His reply to Morgan was unashamedly partisan. He said that the government’s plan was a ‘structural admission of failure’ across the entire ‘fractured’ education system. He added that coalition policy has ‘fomented’ the failures in Birmingham. He spoke of Whitehall’s ‘malign neglect’, and called for more action. He welcomed two government u-turns on education policy: the introduction of schools commissioners and Ofsted inspections of academy chains. Would there be more, he asked.

It was an aggressive performance from Hunt, replete with snappy soundbites designed, one suspects, for the editors of the 6 O’Clock News. Morgan, though, swatted aside Hunt’s objections by referring to page 90 of the Clarke report, which exonerates the government and concludes that the fault lay with a few self-interested governors at some schools in Birmingham. In other words, this is not an endemic problem. Thus, Morgan edged the lively exchange at the dispatch box.

The ensuing backbench questions raised several salient points. Khalid Mahmood, the Labour MP, used parliamentary privilege to name several figures in Birmingham who need, in his view, to be investigated. And Liam Byrne, the former Labour minister, raised the prospect of the schools commissioner having the power to sack teachers and officials who are found to be promoting extremism.

There was widespread relief, on both sides of the House, that the report had failed to find evidence of ‘radicalisation’, although this does overlook the fact the Clarke was not asked to look for such evidence. Morgan expressed her determination to tackle extremism with the help of the Muslim community, the vast majority of which is opposed to extremist elements. The House supported her ambition.

There was little discussion of the role and status of faith schools, which have become a target of criticism in the course of this affair. Conservative backbencher Andrew Stephenson asked Morgan for assurance that she would not withdraw her support for faith schools, which she was happy to give.

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  • Blindsideflanker

    “Nicky Morgan and Tristram Hunt respond to the ‘Trojan horse’ schools report”

    Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, announces that the teachers will be referred to the National College for Teaching and Leadership.

    That will tell them Eh Nicky?

    If the same had been done by the BNP or EDF they would be in prison awaiting their trial for hate speech , racism or bigotry.

  • John Mangan

    Very simple. Get rid of “faith” schools. What place does inculcation into belief in magic invisible father figures have in a modern scientific age?

  • GraveDave

    Blimey , even the lollipop lady!

  • HookesLaw

    These things ocured under Labour’s watch didn’t they. The ‘partisan’ Hunt’ is just one reason out of many why we should all vote conservative to keep him out of power.

    • GraveDave

      These things ocured under Labour’s watch didn’t they.

      True, but it sounds to me like we’re still under Labour’s watch.

      ” Morgan expressed her determination to tackle extremism with the help of the Muslim community, the vast majority of which is opposed to extremist elements. The House supported her ambition.”

      Same old PC gobbledygook. You ‘real’ Tories need to get some real balls.

      • Ordinaryman

        If the vast majority are opposed to extremists, why am I not hearing from them to that effect? Am I missing something? In which case, could someone please point me in the right direction so that I can relax about this issue.

  • sir_graphus

    “this is not an endemic problem”

    That’s a worryingly complacent response. A few years ago, an excellent head was forced out of a primary school in Woking by aggressive Islamist governors. She resisted Islamic influence, stopped turning a blind eye to girls being kept away from school. The education authority failed to back her properly and had to pay compensation. That’s just the example I know about.

  • sarahsmith232

    The only people that have been forced out so far are a handful of governors. The heads and deputy heads are all still working. One of which the Mirror has secretly recorded coming out with BBC acquired views about white females that should have been an instantaneously sackable offense. Yet no sacking.
    Is this really going to happen? Are they really going to continue working? Please, please somebody tell me that I just needed to watch the debate in Parliament, if I had i’d have heard them say that there’s going to be a cull, they’re all out.
    What can we do? This leaves me feeling so powerless. Offering to shove a few leaflets for Ukip is just really not going to cut it. I’ve been here before with feeling like this about Labour’s England. I turned it around though. I got myself armed to the teeth with some knowledge, only in some really small ways but, nevertheless, took on the Lefties and always won the arguments. I realised after a few years, actually, come to think of it, I’ve turned all this to my advantage, not only do I no longer feel such despair and so powerless, actually, I now feel the opposite.
    I’m right back there, it’s all so disgusting, it’s all down to the dominance of the lunatic Left and there’s no way out. Immigration from parts of the world which breeds this is still out of control. According to Mark Harper the Tories ‘have dealt with that now’, nothing in their Immigration Act about reducing the numbers, only half-as**d nothing policies about getting them out once they’re all in.
    The country is gone. It’s over for England. There’s never going to be an end to it.

    • Shazza

      We are living through a very dark period of our history – the death of Western, secular civilisation. Growing up, in awe of the lunar landings, developing technology, medical progress, etc., etc., I thought it would all carry on as we humans evolved towards greater feats and knowledge. I never, ever thought that I would, in my lifetime, be witnessing a rerun of The Fall of the Roman Empire.
      This new dark age, which is imminent, is one that in all probability, we will never ever recover from.
      Islam does not allow for critical examination. It is all allah’s will.

      • Colonel Mustard

        I too find it difficult to believe that the confidence and promise of the post-war years has gone, to be replaced by an establishment regime and public narrative which, described then as it is now, would have seemed unbelievably dictatorial and dystopian to the English.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        True Shazza but progress is not linear in terms of human history. A new dark age beckons and our supposed leaders stand idly by telling us all not to worry.

      • sarahsmith232

        Absolutely agree Shazza.
        The integration process came to an abrupt dead stop under Labour then dramatically went into reverse. How on earth can they not see this?
        My genetic heritage half springs from a part of the Islamic world, with my generation – was about as greatly relevant as being half Italian. Have been around a million and one people who are the same as me, none that was ever any different. But with the younger generations, Jeez, unbelievable, they’re doing the – ‘i’m so foreign I can’t even speak English like it’s my first language’ – half-wit speak, they describe themselves as not really white, instead members of the ethnic minorities (we’re all white, they’re choosing to believe themselves BME). And they don’t describe themselves as English (has to be British, ’cause then there’s a BME, very different from ‘The White’, multicultural ‘modernity’ association for them).
        NEVER, EVER, EVER could I have imagined that this was way society would ‘progress’. It is so shocking to me that the younger generations don’t see themselves as white or English. Jeez, another first the other day – someone felt the need to apologise to me when just about to launch into an anti-immigration rant. He was going off my surname, I certainly did put his at ease, only too happy to join in. But again, NEVER, EVER, EVER was I EVER viewed as a female that wasn’t 100% white and English, so would associate myself with the BME views on immigration rather than just plain old white and English.
        Labour and the rest of the Left have absolutely zero idea about pretty much anything. We’re trapped by their ignorance, absolutely at their mercy, no way out, other than just leave the country and try and pretend it isn’t happening.
        Too depressing.

    • Pootles

      ‘Labour’s England’? Since when was it just the b***ers in Labour? All the mainstream parties, the opinion makers, the trades unions, the CBI, the IoD, the EU – all of them want this, and all have facilitated it. Don’t fool yourself that the Tories, or any of others want, or wanted, anything else.

      • sarahsmith232

        Agreed, we are absolutely trapped by it all.

  • Emulous

    Solve it.
    Solve in now.
    By September we need all to know that the situation is at an end.
    Close all these schools and distribute the pupils throughout Birmingham to Schools with strong Heads and a Christian ethos.
    No more than a quarter can be allowed in any one School.
    Morgan-this is your test.
    Do not fail.

    • Drabble

      If Ms Morgan will not close them, we could get together a group of educational Christians to do the job for her.

  • Colonel Mustard

    For goodness sake Tristram, get yourself some Dulcolax or Senekot. You’ll feel (and look) so much better after a good clear out and won’t find yourself talking such crap.

    • Emulous

      This is no time for partisan posts.
      Hunt needs to phone Morgan now and agree not to oppose pan closure of all these schools with redistribution to schools with a proven track record.

      • Colonel Mustard

        You think Hunt was not being partisan in what he said? The Labour party is partisan in everything they do and they are going to destroy every last bit of Gove’s work if they can but a koala bear tells me this is no time for partisan posts?

        No wonder this country is doomed.

        • Emulous

          Yes yes yes.

          I was not clear.

          I was referring to Hunt “coalition policy has ‘fomented’ the failures”
          This is deadly serious. If not nipped in the bud there will be trouble such that no Westminster politician can solve. Morgan must be brave. As noted above closure is the only way.

          • dado_trunking

            No no no. Do not close anything.
            Give Toby Young the job. He is gagging for more. Let him expand his empire.

            • Inverted Meniscus

              Like you sock puppet empire lad?

              • dado_trunking

                Learn to spell for Pete’s sake!

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Why don’t you just FO and stop disrupting these threads with your euro-gibberish.

    • Mynydd

      One could say the same about you.

      • Colonel Mustard

        One could. But I’m just an old Western man expressing my opinion not the Shadow Education Secretary. My crap will not determine the future of anyone’s children.

        So, how is Labour education in Wales doing anyway?

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