My rejected letter to The Times – 4 June 2014

by Liam Byrne | 04.06.14 | in: Constituency news, Hodge Hill, Local Issues, Local News, National news, Schools, Tories, Uncategorized


Dear friends,


This morning I read with dismay the Times leader entitled ‘Trojan Horses’ about the situation in Birmingham Schools. You can read the patronising piece here: (£)


In response I wrote to the editor but they have refused to publish the letter in full.


See here below the letter I submitted to the letters page at the Times this morning, which they’ve refused to publish:


Dear Sir,


As a great admirer of your paper and its respect for facts, I was appalled at the grossly patronising tone of your leader today, headlined Trojan Horse.


Let’s be clear: the allegations about schools in Birmingham are serious. They demanded Ofsted inspection, which I was determined to ensure was conducted fast and forensically. But the conclusions from these inspections are not yet on the table. For reasons best known to Sir Michael Wilshaw and the Secretary of State, the reports remain secret, under wraps.


You therefore have not a shred of conclusive proof today that health and sex education was poor, that RE education was unbalanced, or that music and dancing was not permitted. Your conclusion therefore that the necessity of these requirements ‘need to be firmly explained to the parents and the communities [my constituents] sustaining the schools’ is so offensively patronising that it should not have graced your pages.


Our parents are as just ambitious as you for the best, well-rounded education possible for their children. Like me, they want their children to be leaders of our city and our country. What is extraordinary is that you had nothing to say about the potential failures of oversight of these academies – which let us remember Mr Gove is responsible for – and yet hint that somehow our parents are ‘lesser citizens’.


The questions at stake here cut to the heart of wider debates about the position of faith schools and the wider management of education reform. Don’t make parents the scapegoats for the sins and omissions of politicians – of whatever party they might be.




Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP




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