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  1. ITV Report

'Little improvement' in child protection reported following Trojan Horse scandal

The Park View Educational Trust was at the centre claims of a plot by Muslim hard-liners to take control of several Birmingham schools. Credit: ITV News Central

Two years after the Trojan Horse scandal, children in Birmingham are still not being kept safe, The Head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw has warned.

In a newly published letter, the Ofsted chief inspector says he has continuing concerns about the performance of the city's council and its ability to protect and ensure the safety of its children.

In 2014, Birmingham found itself at the centre of the so-called Trojan Horse controversy, which centred on an alleged move by a small group of hard-line Muslims to seize control of a small number of the city's schools.

The allegations sparked investigations by several agencies including the Department for Education and Ofsted.

Sir Michael's latest letter to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan states that the local council had failed in its duty to help schools to keep pupils safe from the potential risks of radicalisation and extremism.

John Stillwell / PA Wire/Press Association Images Credit: John Stillwell / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Sir Michael Wilshaw said:

Two of the schools at the centre of the so-called 'Trojan Horse' episode have been upgraded from inadequate to good in their recent re-inspections.

I am quite clear that, although many of these schools have improved and children are now much safer, the situation remains fragile." Sir Michael says.

While the overwhelming majority of parents support the changes that have taken place over the past two years, there are a minority of people in the community who are still intent on destabilising these schools."

– Sir Michael Wilshaw
Birmingham City Council Credit: Phil Addis / PA Archive/Press Association Images

Birmingham City Councillor Brigid Jones, cabinet member for children, families and schools, responded to Sir Michael's report.

"Given that no-one from the political leadership has been interviewed in an Ofsted inspection since 2014, and that it has changed quite significantly since then, we found the comments in Sir Michael's letter to be a surprise.

Our doors are always open should Ofsted wish to talk to us about their concerns directly.

We will continue to do our utmost, working with partners and our commissioners, to ensure we have the right framework for social work in this city to become excellent. We have 800 dedicated social workers and a similarly committed wider team of professionals who support and work alongside them.

They deserve recognition and credit for all they've done so far in the improvement journey and all that they will do in the future.

In terms of the Chief Inspector's comments on schools in Birmingham, we note what is being said but contend they don't fully reflect the feedback that we receive from teachers, our education commissioner and the positive views of other government departments on our work on extremism.

– Birmingham City Councillor Brigid Jones, cabinet member for children, families and schools

A Department for Education spokeswoman said:

Although Birmingham City Council has made some improvements to the way it runs its children's services, we know this progress has not gone far enough, fast enough, and Sir Michael Wilshaw's letter reinforces that.

That's why we have already announced we are working with the Council on the development of a voluntary Trust to make sure children and families in Birmingham receive the best possible care and support.

On top of this, we are delivering a comprehensive package of reforms to radically improve child protection and the raise the status of social work."

– A Department for Education spokeswoman