UK PM authorises raids to tackle ‘extremism’ in schools

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday authorised no-notice raids in UK schools to tackle threats of extremism, saying protecting children is one of the first duties of his government.

The move follows a report from the country’s schools inspectorate, The Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), into allegations of a plot by Islamist extremists to take over the running of some schools across Birmingham under a so-called ‘Operation Trojan Horse’.

The inquiry into 21 schools in the city has revealed that five did not do enough to protect pupils from extremism and put on shows of inclusivity during inspections.

‘Protecting our children is one of the first duties of government and that is why the issue of alleged Islamist extremism in Birmingham schools demands a robust response,’ Cameron said in relation to the official release of the inspection report on Monday.

‘The education secretary will now ask Sir Michael Wilshaw (the head of Ofsted) to look into allowing any school to be inspected at no notice and stopping schools having the opportunity to cover up activities which have no place in our society,’ he added.

The British Prime Minister is also due to call a special meeting of the government’s Extremism Taskforce to discuss the implications arising from the review.

Ofsted typically warn schools of an inspection the day before an official visit.

But the latest emergency inspections were carried out with just 30 minutes notice as opposed to one or two days the last time schools were visited when many were rated outstanding or good.

As a result, Sir Michael will now recommend new rules to curb the infiltration of schools, including tighter vetting of governors and more stringent checks on their interests and activities.

In further measures, Ofsted will announce that all schools will be forced to promote a ‘broad and balanced’ education to prepare pupils for life as British citizens.

The requirement will see schools branded as inadequate for failing to provide access to a rounded timetable covering sex education, music, sport, citizenship and a full religious education syllabus.

Alongside the Ofsted reports, the government also published separate findings from an Education Funding Agency probe into two schools, Park View and Oldknow Academy.

‘We were told by two staff members that the assembly (on Easter and Christianity) had also been put on especially for our benefit,’ the report said.

A number of schools being criticised in these reports are believed to be considering legal action.
Ofsted is a non-ministerial government department of Chief Inspector of Schools in England.
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