I thought you would appreciate an update on the situation in our schools.
First, the school at the centre of the news, Park View school is a school I know well and it delivers simply outstanding exam results. As Ofsted noted in their last report, pupils say they’re proud to go there. In every single statement I’ve made on the subject, I have underlined this point.
However, some of the allegations which have been made are serious.
Its important that you know the allegations which triggered the latest inspections were made by former and present staff at Park View, along with parents, and were made BEFORE the so-called Trojan Horse letter appeared in the press.
When allegations are made, they need investigating.
We can’t just ignore them.
But the right people to do the investigation are Her Majesty’s Inspectors from Ofsted. And that’s what’s happening. We cannot and will not have anything that interferes with good school management – and the ability of outstanding teachers to deliver outstanding education.
That means good exam results, yes. But it means something more: educating our children as well-rounded citizens of the city and of Britain, comfortable with themselves and well-equipped to be the leaders of tomorrow.
Now, given the media furore and the fact that there have been leaks about the conclusions of the report, I think it is vital that the report is published straight away. The uncertainty needs to end.
Before the report is published, its important to note that allegations are just that: allegations. In my view, no-one should jump the gun and come to conclusions without the evidence. I do not want anyone to treat us like some kind of political football, or use us for their own agenda. We have to keep our focus on what’s best for our children.
Finally, having been in the middle of this right from the word ‘go’, I’m convinced there is something more we need. We need the Department for Education and Birmingham City Council to work together to organise an independent advisor-led review to study what if any lessons need to be drawn from all this. That’s the right way, to build a full and true picture, and crucially identify the steps we need to take to move on, to a first class education system fit for 21st century Birmingham.