Governors ‘undermined leaders’ at Bradford school linked to Islam plot

Education Secretary Michael Gove
Education Secretary Michael Gove
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MEMBERS of a governing body which was removed by Bradford Council had been underming school leaders, according to a damning new Ofsted report.

However education bosses in the city have strongly denied that governors were removed from Laisterdyke Business and Enterprise College because of any links to the Trojan Horse plot in Birmingham where it is alleged people have tried to force out staff and “Islamise” schools.

The school has been linked to events in Birmingham by a national newspaper but Bradford Council’s executive member for children’s services Coun Ralph Berry said this was not the case.

He added: “The Ofsted report does not mention any concerns of this kind. But it does vindicate our decision to remove a governing body which was failing to support the school.”

Ofsted say the relationship between the school’s governing body and principal Jen McIntosh and her senior leadership team had “deteriorated markedly.”

The governing body was replaced with a new ‘interim executive board’ after the city’s council applied to Education Secretary Michael Gove to have it removed.

Ofsted found the school required improvement in September last year. Its latest report sent to the school’s principal says: “The governing body’s relationship with you, your leadership team and the local authority has deteriorated markedly...Action by members of the governing body are increasingly undermining the capacity of senior leaders and slowing decision making, in part, because governors are becoming too involved in operational matters.” Ofsted also raise concern about governors failing to follow financial procedures by changing the provider of legal advice at the school without the approval of the full governing body.

The council’s strategic director of children’s services, Michael Jameson, said: “We had already taken action to address the governance arrangements prior to the Ofsted inspection in April 2014 and had applied to the Secretary of State to establish an interim executive board, effectively removing the existing governing body. This request was approved following the Ofsted monitoring visit. With the establishment of a new governing body we now expect the leadership of the school to secure rapid improvements for its pupils.”

Bradford was drawn into the Trojan Horse row last month by Birmingham Council leader Sir Albert Bore who claimed that schools in the city were facing similar issues to those in Birmingham.