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News - 16 May 2014

Super-heads to run schools.

 The education watchdog Ofsted and the Department for Education are expected to deliver reports in June on the next steps for schools involved in the "Trojan Horse" allegations in Birmingham.

 
It is understood that ministers have approached heads of successful schools and academy trusts about taking over other schools where there have been concerns.
 
This could include taking schools away from local authority control, converting them into academies - directly funded by central government - and putting them under the leadership of high-achieving head teachers. In the situation where the school is already an academy, it could mean schools being reassigned to other academy trusts.
 
Birmingham City Council said it would not be appropriate to comment on any "proposed action" until Ofsted's inspection reports had been published.
 
The GMB union warned: "It is absolutely disgusting that the government is pre-empting the outcome of the investigation into these schools and planning to sell these schools on to their friends in the academy chains."
 
Before the Trojan Horse claims, Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw had spoken publicly of his belief that the local authority might need to be broken up.
 
Birmingham is the biggest local authority in England - and it is believed that private soundings have shown it would be difficult to find a private sector contractor willing or able to take on the running of such a wide range of services.
 
But another option would be for some or all of the council's education and children's services to be hived off to an independent trust.
 
Lavinia Newman, founder of ABDS comments:
“The investigations into extremism in Birmingham schools had been sparked by an anonymous and unverified letter claiming that there was a "Trojan Horse" conspiracy by a group wanting to impose a more hardline Muslim agenda on schools in the city. This included claims that head teachers were being replaced with staff who were more likely to be sympathetic to these religious beliefs.”
 
The authenticity of the letter has been disputed, but the National Association of Head Teachers says there seem to have been "concerted efforts" to take over six schools in Birmingham.
 
If you need any help and advice with Free Schools, Academy Schools or Charities, contact Lavinia Newman or Peter Ham now to discuss how ABDS can help bring their experience to these matters.
 
ABDS Chartered Certified Accountants of Southampton.
Tel: 023 8083 6900 E-mail: abds@netaccountants.net
 
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