A LEADING Bradford headteacher claims there has been a co-ordinated attempt to pursue an Islamic agenda by a small number of school governors in the city.
Nick Weller, the chief executive of the Bradford Partnership – a group which represents the city’s secondary schools – said one headteacher had been forced to leave her job at Carlton Bolling College because she would not give in to the governors involved.
Bradford Council last night said it was aware of “issues of religious conservatism and the behaviour of a small number of governors” at the secondary school.
However the school’s chairman of governors, Faisal Khan, has strongly rejected the claims.
Coun Khan also criticised Ofsted for its role inspecting schools in Birmingham following claims of a schools takeover plot by some Muslim governors in the city.
In Bradford, it has been reported that minutes from Carlton Bolling showed governors regularly asked if a broad religious agenda met the spiritual needs of the students. It has also been suggested pupils have been segregated on school trips.
Mr Weller said the tensions had led to previous headteacher Chris Robinson leaving.
He added: “An outstanding head has been driven out by a governing body because she would not give in to their agenda of making it reflect the culture and traditions of the Muslim students, more than it did, or more than is right and proper for a state-funded school. In a multi-cultural city like Bradford the job of mainstream schools is to focus on the core values which unite all communities, not on reflecting any particular one predominantly.
“There’s a co-ordinated attempt by a small group of unrepresentative people, whose views are not shared by most of the Muslim parents that I talk to, to gain greater control of governing bodies in Bradford and advance their agenda.”
However Mr Khan, a former Respect councillor who now sits on Bradford Council as an independent, said any suggestion the governing body was trying to impose a strict Islamic ethos on the school was wrong.
“It’s just completely false,” he said. “It feels like a witch-hunt.
“We’re a good school and we’re proud of the students and the staff and I think all this is just mischief-making. People need to just stand back and take a level- headed approach.”