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Michael Gove: schools will have to promote British values

By Staff Reporter

Schools will be made to actively promote British values, Michael Gove has said, as it was confirmed five Birmingham schools have been placed into special measures in the wake of the 'Trojan Horse' allegations.

The Education Secretary told MPs that the Government will take "decisive action" following the findings of Ofsted, as well as the Education Funding Agency (EFA), warning that all schools could now be subjected to unannounced inspections, while schools that have failed will be taken over and put under new leadership.

His comments came as Ofsted issued a damning verdict on the running of a number of Birmingham's schools.

Inspections conducted following claims of a takeover plot by hardline Muslims found that a "culture of fear and intimidation" has developed in some schools and, in several, governors exerted "inappropriate influence" over their running.

A separate EFA report into Park View Educational Trust, which runs three of the schools rated inadequate by Ofsted and has been at the heart of the alleged takeover plot, concluded it has "many weaknesses" and restricted its curriculum to a "conservative Islamic perspective".

And EFA's report into Oldknow Academy found it was "taking on the practices of an Islamic faith school".

In a statement to the Commons, Mr Gove warned that in future any school could be subjected to tough, on-the-spot inspections.

He went on to say the Government is to consult on new rules to ensure that "all schools actively promote British values" – such as democracy, individual liberty, respect and tolerance.

Meanwhile, Downing Street has revealed that Home Secretary Theresa May did not know about the decision to publish a private ministerial letter she had sent to Mr Gove on the Home Office website last week.

The highly unusual late-night appearance of the letter added rocket fuel to last week's briefing war between the two ministers, which led to a public slapdown from David Cameron, who ordered Gove to apologise, while one of May's aides, Fiona Cunningham, had to resign.

Labour claimed the release of the letter would amount to a breach of the ministerial code, if it was authorised by May. But the PM's official spokesman said: "The Home Secretary did not know about the decision to publish the letter."

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