Former Park View Educational Trust chairman Tahir Alam has been banned from any involvement with schools after being accused by the Department of Education to be “undermining fundamental British values” and attempting to put Muslim officials in control of school governing boards.
The Department of Education has banned Alam from any involvement with any independent schools and has disqualified him from becoming a state school governor. The DfE letter states that schools employing Alam in a management position for unpaid or paid work will be met with a shut down, The Birmingham Mail says.
Hardip Begol, the director of assessment, curriculum, qualifications and accountability at the Department of Education, explained how Alam was involved in activities:
“… aimed at undermining the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths or beliefs.”
This is the latest development in the ‘Trojan horse’ controversy, which revealed an alleged Islamist-driven plot to influence the educational program in Birmingham’s schools, which are home to many Muslim students.
The goal was to undermine head teachers and get hardline Muslims in control of several school governing boards. As the DfE says, Alam had too much control over the Park View Educational Trust and was embracing:
“… an intolerant and narrow faith-based ideology based on a hardline strand of Sunni Islam, imposing gender segregation among students for some activities and failing to treat girls and boys as equals” the Guardian explains.
His activities were geared towards the promotion of intolerance of difference and diversity and making students vulnerable to radicalization. Alam was accused of being the architect of the plot and resigned in the summer of 2014. An 11-page rebuttal of the decision has been rejected by the DfE. The Secretary of State spokesperson said:
“Extremism has no place in our schools.”
Alam, who passed the DfE’s letter to the Guardian, said about the ban decision:
“I have the dubious honor of being the first person to be issued with a ban of this kind by the [Department for Education] preventing me from taking part in the management of schools,” he said.
“I did my job as a governor, as a volunteer, and I did it very well in collaboration with others. I helped transform these schools into successful schools and stand by my work there.”
Alam has also said that the accusations are groundless and part of a witch-hunt. He also believes the ban is an abuse of authority. The BBC says that a recent government inquiry found that there have been activities that aimed at introducing ”an intolerant and aggressive Islamist ethos” into schools:
“We will investigate any allegations [of extremism] and will not hesitate to take action against individuals who put children at risk by exposing them to radicalisation or extremist views.”