Following the escalation last night of tensions first reported by Guido back in April, the Cabinet has this morning descended into open warfare over extremism in schools. Theresa May has written to Michael Gove to publicly question DfE’s handling of the Trojan Horse Islamic schools takeover plot. In a terse letter the Home Secretary asks:
“Is it true that Birmingham city council was warned about these allegations in 2008? Is it true that the Department for Education was warned in 2010? If so, why did nobody act?”
It is clear to me that we will need to take clear action to improve the quality of staffing and governance if we are to prevent extremism in schools. The publication of a code of practice for supplementary schools was an agreed Extremism Task Force commitment and we agreed at the conclusion of the ETF’s work that the code should be voluntary.
However, since the publication of the ETF report in December there have been serious allegations of extremism in some Birmingham schools and accusations about the inability of local and central government to tackle the problem effectively.
In this context, I am not convinced that a voluntary code is sufficient and I believe it would be sensible to include the option of developing a mandatory code in your consultation document.”
A source close to the Education Secretary tells Guido in response:
“Michael Gove thinks Theresa May is a superb Home Secretary. We will continue to work well with the Home Office and other government departments to combat extremism in all its forms. Ofsted will publish their findings next week and Peter Clarke will publish his report in July.”
Clarke is the anti-terror chief brought in by Gove to investigate links between the radical Islamist individuals allegedly involved in the plot, an appointment approved by No. 10. Gove supporters are publicly trying to cool tensions with May, while laying the blame at the door of Charles Farr, the Home Office Security and Counter Terrorism chief who they accuse of ignoring extremism until it becomes violent. Farr is a close ally of the Home Secretary, and even closer to her Special Adviser…