'Staff and pupils used anti-Semitic abuse' at 'Trojan horse' link academy


Anti-Semitic abuse by staff and pupils went unchecked at an academy linked to the "Trojan Horse" scandal, a former senior teacher has told a misconduct hearing.

The teacher who was head of geography at Park View Academy in Birmingham said in a witness statement "pupils would say to staff or other pupils 'you Jew boy' which was considered a derogatory term".

"I heard both pupils and staff use anti-Semitic language," she added.

The subject leader, who was answering questions about her evidence at a National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) misconduct panel, also told how "racist and homophobic comments were an on-going problem" at the academy.

The woman, referred to in the hearing as Witness A and speaking via video-link, also claimed the school's then executive headteacher Lindsey Clark was aware of the problem and "an increase in anti-Semitic graffiti in pupils' books".

But the teacher, who later became an associate head at the school, added that to her knowledge the only action Ms Clark took was to send senior teachers a memo with words to the effect "what are your thoughts on this matter?"

She added: "I would have expected that those in charge of a school faced with such attitudes/behaviour would have taken firm action to eradicate it."

On another occasion she claimed to have heard male colleague Razwan Faraz use the derogatory term "kuffar" which she said made her "very uncomfortable".

The panel is considering allegations that five former senior and headteachers from the Park View Educational Trust (PVET) are guilty of unacceptable professional misconduct, including Mr Faraz and super-head Ms Clark.

Also alleged to have brought their profession into disrepute are Monzoor (Moz) Hussain, the ex Park View headteacher Park View, Hardeep Saini, former headteacher of sister school Golden Hillock, and Arshad Hussain who was an assistant headteacher at Park View.

All face an allegation that on or before March 31, last year, they had agreed to "the inclusion of an undue amount of religious influence in the education of pupils", at PVET schools.

They also face several separate accusations of wrong-doing, including allowing "excessive" punishments of pupils by use of "stress positions" and pupils being made to "stare at bushes".

Today, Witness A alleged boys and girls were segregated in assemblies, while a team of prefects "hand-selected" by Mr Faraz "behaved like a morality squad" inside the school, and reported back on pupils who were having relationships.

She also described an hour-long assembly given to pupils by controversial Jewish orthodox rabbi Aaron Cohen, from the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta group.

"Our pupils were being fed entirely inappropriate and biased information which was in particular anti-Semitic, at an event organised by Razwan Faraz and attended by Monzoor Hussain," she told the panel.

However, when questioned about a claim in her witness statement that a city health visitor had visited the school and alleged high rates of sexually-transmitted diseases might be down to a prevalence of pre-marital anal sex among Muslim girls, she changed her account.

Witness A, who at one point had been responsible for the academy's sex education lesson planning, then suggested the health data could have been gleaned by searching the web, telling the panel "you can get information from the internet".

Three NCTL hearings are taking place in Coventry, Solihull and Bournville in Birmingham to hear cases against 11 former PVET teachers.

However, in a development at the Birmingham hearing Johirul Islam, who was a teacher at Park View Academy, was told he had no case to answer.

Meanwhile, the panel hearing evidence in Coventry against two former Park View teachers who taught sex education has now retired to consider its determination which is not expected for some days.

That panel has spent eight days hearing the NCTL's case against Inamulhaq Anwar, aged 34, and 41-year-old Akeel Ahmed jointly who are alleged to be guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

Hearings in Bournville and Coventry are continuing and the respondents all deny the allegations.