Monday 9 June 2014

David Hughes, vice-chair of Park View Academy Trust - statement

"Here is the full statement from David Hughes, the vice chair of Park View academy trust. He stressed that he was not a Muslim himself, but a practising Christian."


"I have been a governor at Park View school for 17 years and I'm immensely proud of what's been achieved here and what's been done, and very distressed about what happening to undo that work ...

On behalf of staff, students and parents who have worked so hard improve their schools, we are extremely disappointed to confirm that Ofsted has graded Park View, Golden Hillocks and Nansen schools as inadequate and put them into special measures.

We support the role of Ofsted in holding schools to account in a fair and transparent way, but we wholeheartedly dispute the validity of these gradings.

Park View, Golden Hillocks and Nansen are categorically not inadequate schools.

Our Ofsted inspections were ordered in a climate of suspicion created by the hoax Trojan letter and by the anonymous, unproven allegations about our schools in the media. Ofsted inspectors came to our schools looking for extremism, looking for segregation, looking for proof that our children have religion forced upon them as part of an Islamic plot. The Ofsted reports find asbsolutely no evidence of this because this is categorically not what is happening at our schools.

Our schools do not tolerate or promote extremism of any kind. We have made a major commitment to raising all students' awareness of extremism. People who know and have worked with our schools are appalled at the way we have been misrepresented.

Our schools serve some of the most disadvantaged communities in Britain. In spite of this, 75% of students at Park View achieved at least five good GCSEs last year, including in English and maths. This makes it the best school of its type in England. Golden Hillocks and Nansen are on course to get the best results ever. Quite simply, this is because we believe our role is to break the links between demographics, deprivation and destiny.

We refuse to let our students' backgrounds limit what they can achieve, and who they can become.

The speed and the ferocity with which Park View school in particular has been condemned is truly shocking. Park View school has helped transform the lives of local families by realising their hope and ambition for educational success. School communities at Park View, Golden Hillocks and Nansen that have worked hard to turn round failing schools are being condemned when they should be being celebrated.

The problem here is not extremism or segregation or religious indoctrination, all the things that Ofsted looked for but failed to find in our schools. The problem here is the knee-jerk actions of some politicians that have undermined the great work that we do here and undermined community cohesion across Birmingham and across many of our cities. They have put Muslim children from these communities at substantial risk of not being accepted as equal, legitimate and valued members of British society, and they have allowed suspicion to be cast on the aspiration of their parents and anyone else who believes that these children deserve the same rights and excellent standard of education as any other child.

And it is important you know we will now be challenging all these reports through the appropriate legal channels."