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Gove accused of 'demonising' Birmingham communities

Michael Gove and Ofsted head Sir Michael Wilshaw have been accused of "demonising" communities affected by the 'Trojan Horse' investigation into schools in Birmingham.

David Hughes, a governor at Park View School, said people in his area felt "frightened, betrayed and let down" by the way the investigation has been conducted.

Park View School was investigated as part of the 'Trojan Horse' probe. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/Press Association Images

All three schools run by Park View Educational Trust - of which Mr Hughes is a vice chairman - have been placed into special measures following Ofsted inspections into a suspected takeover of schools by hardline Muslims.

Mr Hughes wrote a strongly worded open letter to Mr Gove and Sir Michael, saying: "I find it astounding that you are now so vehement in condemning us as negligent and derelict in our duties at best, and dangerous at worst."

"You have some very angry communities now who feel frightened, betrayed and let down by the way you have exploited the Trojan Horse hoax and demonised them," he added.

Read: Councils 'need more powers to monitor schools'

Parents 'frustrated' by councils not intervening

Parents are "frustrated" that their local councils cannot intervene where there are concerns about schools' performance, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).

Cllr David Simmonds, chairman of the LGA's Children and Young People Board, said: "Parents deserve a local organisation to act as a first port of call if they are not satisfied with the response from their child's school or its governing body.

"Mums and dads concerned about their children's education will always turn to their local council for help. But they are rightly becoming increasingly frustrated when their council is unable to intervene."

Read: Promoting 'British values': Why is Magna Carta important?

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Councils 'need more powers to monitor schools'

Councils should be given more powers to monitor schools and intervene where there are concerns, the Local Government Association (LGA) has said.

The call follows recent Ofsted reports raising concerns about pupils at several Birmingham schools being inadequately protected against extremist views.

Golden Hillock, one of the schools criticised by Ofsted. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The LGA said the move would "help to rebuild both parent and pupil confidence".

Ofsted chief: End the 'all must have prizes' culture

Ofsted chief executive Sir Michael Wilshaw will criticise state schools for failing to provide competitive sport and call for an end to the "all-must-have-prizes" culture in comprehensive schools, which some say discourages competition.

The Queen's granddaughter Zara Tindall won a medal in 2012 Olympics. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

In a speech on Friday, Sir Michael will urge state schools to push competitive sports to create more medalist like Jessica Ennis-Hill.

More than 40% of Team GB in London 2012 attended private school, compared to just 7% of the general population.

The Ofsted chief will also highlight the connection between participation in competitive sports and academic success.

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PM: We need a 'muscular' new defence of British values

In a new pledge to promote "core British values," the Prime Minister said that opponents of democracy, equality and tolerance have been allowed to flourish.

In recent years we have been in danger of sending out a worrying message: that if you don't want to believe in democracy, that's fine; that if equality isn't your bag, don't worry about it; that if you're completely intolerant of others, we will still tolerate you.

This has not just led to division, it has also allowed extremism - of both the violent and non-violent kind - to flourish.

We need to be far more muscular in promoting British values and the institutions that uphold them.

A genuinely liberal country believes in certain values, actively promotes them and says to its citizens: this is what defines us as a society.

– Prime Minister David Cameron

More: PM tells teachers to 'promote British values'

Pupils to learn about Magna Carta in 'British values' push

Every child in Britain is to be taught about the Magna Carta as part of a Government drive to push British values in the wake of the controversy over Islamist influence on some Birmingham schools.

More: Gove adviser 'attended key Trojan Horse meeting' in 2010

David Cameron has set out plans to teach all school pupils about the Magna Carta.
David Cameron has set out plans to teach all school pupils about the Magna Carta. Credit: Reuters

David Cameron said extremism and division is flourishing in the UK because of a "worrying" failure to promote British values and he plans to use the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta – a year from today – to reassert them in a "Magna Carta for Modern Britain."

Writing in the Mail on Sunday he said Britain’s "belief in freedom, tolerance of others, accepting personal and social responsibility, respecting and upholding the rule of law" are vital and "as British as the Union Flag, football and fish and chips."

He said it was "not an option" for anyone living in this country not to live by them.

Teachers have been told by Education Secretary Michael Gove that they must "actively promote British values".

Ofsted chief agrees to meet 'Trojan Horse' parents

The head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has agreed to meet parents of pupils whose schools were involved in the Trojan Horse investigation in Birmingham.

Chief Inspector of Schools in England and Head of Ofsted Sir Michael Wilshaw. Credit: PA

Sir Michael made the pledge after a meeting with local MPs to discuss concerns in the community about the regulator's recent reports, which saw several schools placed into special measures.

"He agreed to consider how best to meet a request from some MPs for him to address the concerns of some of their constituents, including the suggestion of meeting with a small representative group of parents."

The schools themselves claim that Ofsted ignored evidence that showed governors were actively trying to protect children from the risk of exposure to extremism.

Read: 'Trojan Horse' school claims Ofsted ignored crucial evidence

Thousands of children 'missing out on education'

Thousands of children are not attending school because they do not have a place or are unknown to the authorities, according to a youth charity.

Read: Tougher truancy penalties

Pupil
Children may be classed as "missing" because they were excluded from school. Credit: PA

A Freedom of Information (FOI) requests from the National Children's Bureau (NCB) found 7,701 youngsters have been recorded as missing by 79 local councils in England.

The NCB said that based on this figure, it estimates that more than 14,800 children are not in education at any one time across the country.

However, a Department for Education spokesman dubbed the findings "misleading and unhelpful" and said parents had a legal responsibility to make sure their child got an education.

Read: 'Four in 10' autistic children informally excluded from school

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