INSPECTORS have made “emergency” visits to two more Bradford schools in the wake of the ‘Trojan Horse’ controversy, it has been revealed.
Watchdog Ofsted swooped on Carlton Bolling College and Feversham College, after “concerns” were raised following an alleged plot to impose a religious agenda on schools in Birmingham.
Yesterday, Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw told MPs that tougher scrutiny might be required to stop governors attempting to run schools, in the way exposed in Birmingham.
And he said: “We are looking at other schools where this might be happening. We've certainly been to schools in Bradford and Luton.”
In May, Ofsted published a damning report into the running of Laisterdyke Business and Enterprise College, where the governors were replaced with an Interim Executive Board.
However, it made no criticism related to religion – and claims of any ‘Trojan Horse-style’ plot were dismissed by governors and Bradford Council leaders as wild exaggerations.
Now Ofsted has also carried out a snap inspection at Carlton Bolling College, Undercliffe, where chairman of governors is Bradford councillor Faisal Khan – formerly a governor at Laisterdyke.
Last year, Cllr Khan - formerly of Respect and now an independent - took senior staff at Carlton Bolling to visit Birmingham's Park View school, which was strongly criticised in the ‘Trojan Horse’ inquiry.
A video emerged which showed the Bradford Moor councillor talking about removing head teachers from schools.
However, Cllr Khan strongly denied any attempts to 'Islamise' schools, through his organisation the Bradford Muslim Education Forum, insisting he simply wanted to raise standards.
The motive for the Park View visit had been to see how a school with pupils from similar backgrounds had made big improvements, where he knew the chairman of governors.
Last night, Cllr Khan said the school's governors had a copy of the Ofsted inspectors' draft report.
"We had to ask for it which was unusual but I don't want to say anything about its contents yet," he said.
An Ofsted spokesman told the Telegraph & Argus that the inspectors’ report into Carlton Bolling would be published before the end of term, later this month.
Meanwhile, the Feversham College report was published this week and delivers a positive verdict – with one exception.
The inspectors praise the 664-pupil school – formerly the independent Bradford Muslim Girls Community School – for its “high ambitions” and “consistently high achievement over time”.
* Pupils are “prepared for life in modern Britain through their citizenship and guidance lessons”.
* There is “regular involvement of the local police and other agencies to develop the students’ understanding of risk and to promote safety”.
* The school “implements the Prevent programme” – to guard against extremism - and follows best practice.
* School leaders are “aware of risks such as forced marriage and female genital mutilation and provide sensitive and appropriate information and guidance”.
* E-safety is “given a high profile” and all forms of bullying are discussed”.
However, Ofsted does draw attention to the school’s policy of hiring female staff only, noting that the Department for Education (DfE) is investigating it.
And it says a priority must be to “increase opportunities for the broadest range of positive role models, including men and male governors, to be part of students’ learning”.
All students at Feversham are from minority ethnic backgrounds, with 87 per cent of Pakistani heritage.
David Ward, the Bradford East MP, was among MPs who quizzed Sir Michael yesterday as a member of the Commons education select committee.
The Liberal Democrat echoed Councillor Ralph Berry, Bradford Council's executive member for schools, in arguing that comparisons with Birmingham were overblown.
Mr Ward said the Ofsted chief spent most of the two-hour session talking in detail about the Birmingham controversy, only touching briefly on Bradford and other areas.
He added: “I don’t think he regards us as being on the same level of seriousness as Birmingham – he has definitely not devoted as much time to Bradford.”