Teachers at a so-called “Trojan Horse”-linked school in Birmingham isolated pupils “fed on a diet of Islam” from modern British society, a teaching misconduct panel has found, in the first such ruling.
Inamulhaq Anwar, aged 34, and 41-year-old Akeel Ahmed had denied a central allegation they had agreed with others, on or before March 31 last year, to the inclusion of “an undue amount of religious influence in pupils’ education”.
The panel, sitting in the Birmingham village of Bournville, found against both the men who formerly worked at Park View Academy in Alum Rock Birmingham – the school at the centre of the “Trojan Horse” scandal.
It concluded pupils had been “immersed in orthodox Islamic doctrine” through measures including the use of the school loudspeaker system to broadcast a daily call-to-prayer to Park View’s pupils.
The panel also found while there was no formal agreement to change the character of the schools involved, there had been a coordinated attempt at the state-funded schools to include “undue religious influence”.
However, it further found no evidence of Islamic “extremism” at work in the classrooms.
In all, 13 former staff members including ex-headteachers at Park View Educational Trust (PVET) and Oldknow Academy have been facing misconduct hearings, as a result of scandal’s fallout.
But today’s determination by a National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) hearing panel is the first to present its conclusions.
The panel said it accepted “credible” written and oral evidence from a staff member – known as Witness A – who likened Mr Ahmed and Mr Anwar’s roles to that of “generals” in contributing to making sure pupils were “fed a diet of Islam” which had in turn “stifled their development as normal teenagers”.
The panel also found the men’s conduct tended to undermine tolerance and respect for the faith and belief of others.
Separately, Mr Anwar was also found to have breached proper recruitment procedures at Park View’s sister school Nansen Primary, in hiring a man he knew personally to teach – Razwan Faraz.
Mr Faraz, former deputy head of Nansen, is currently facing allegations in a separate hearing that he breached professional standards of conduct as a teacher.
Meanwhile, giving the three-member panel’s conclusions and reasons today, chairman Mark Tweedle said it was satisfied both Mr Ahmed and Mr Anwar were “guilty of unacceptable professional misconduct” and was “satisfied the allegations may also bring the profession into disrepute”.
Mr Tweedle added the allegations were “in no way concerned with extremism, however pupils raised in a predominantly Muslim community and immersed in orthodox Islamic doctrine at school are more likely to feel isolated and inadequately prepared for the world as they grow up.
“As such they are more likely to be vulnerable from the actions and inferences of others who may exploit any sense of alienation.”
In summing up the panels’ findings of fact, Mr Tweedle said it had determined that “Park View was leading the way in the introduction of Islamic practice – perhaps more so than in other British state schools.”
In coming to its decision, the panel found a number of individual allegations proven, on the balance of probabilities.
It found both Mr Ahmed and Mr Anwar “reformed the school curriculum to exclude proper teaching of sex and relationship education, use of contraception and safe sex”.
Mr Tweedle went on to say that “pupils’ development was being stifled and they were not being allowed to develop likes normal British teenagers”.
The panel concluded: “This omission meant the relevant boys were not being fully informed as to how to keep themselves safe (from STDs) and meant they were not being prepared for life in modern Britain.”
Mr Tweedle said both teachers had also failed to afford pupils the chance to “explore different cultures and form their own views”.
It further found Mr Ahmed organised and delivered assemblies of an overly religious nature with inappropriate content, but found the facts not proven in relation to Mr Anwar.
The panel also ruled Mr Ahmed had encouraged prayer during the school day, through posters, a call to prayer on the school’s loudspeaker system, and through direct reminders to teachers.
He was also determined to have segregated boys from girls in lessons and assemblies.
In what the panel described as “of particular concern” was the role of Mr Anwar in breaking recruiting rules when hiring Mr Faraz as deputy headteacher of Nansen Primary School.
Mr Tweedle added the panel “had sympathy” with one witness’s description of that process as “rigged”.
Park View – part of PVET – was at the centre of anonymous allegations which claimed there was a wider plot by Muslim hard-liners to take control of several Birmingham schools.
The allegations sparked investigations by several agencies including the Department for Education (DfE) and Ofsted.
Following the scandal Park View Academy was placed in special measures by Ofsted. It has since been renamed Rockwood Academy.
Both men are subject to interim teaching bans and will be sanctioned at a later date.