Critical Ofsted report expected today into Sir John Cass School’s Islamic links

Sir John Cass Redcoat in Stepney way [picture: Google Streetview] and Tower Hamlets education chief

Sir John Cass Redcoat in Stepney way [picture: Google Streetview] and Tower Hamlets education chief Robert McCulloch-Graham (inset) - Credit: Google+THC

Critical reports on six Muslim independent schools and a State comprehensive in London’s East End are expected today from the Ofsted watchdog, following government concerns about Islamic fundamentalism links.

The Ofsted findings are expected to be harsh on Stepney’s Sir John Cass Secondary and the private schools over ‘safeguarding’ children being at risk.

The education watchdog was asked to carry out the inspections by the Department for Education in the wake of government concerns over the ‘Trojan Horse’ episode in Birmingham into allegations of Islamic groups infiltrating with their own a hard-line radical agenda.

Tower Hamlets’ education director has admitted to the East London Advertiser that Sir John Cass was “not robust enough” in tackling concerns about safeguarding pupils after the school’s sixthform Islamic Society was found to have links on its Facebook with extremist preachers.

“The school nor the council will want to duck this issue,” Robert McCulloch-Graham assured.

“It’s already been addressed—we won’t shy away from it.

“The Ofsted criticism seems to be the response from the school to this isolated incident was not robust or quick enough.

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“It’s a hugely successful school with Haydn Evans at the helm, so it’s surprising in a school of this status and his standing.

“All schools from time to time get isolated incidents which they have to respond to.”

This was a one-off where a 6thfrom Facebook page was linked on the internet to “an undesirable website”—but has been dealt with. Pupils and staff are now getting ongoing training to avoid repeating it, the education director assured.

“Ofsted said the incident was not dealt with sufficiently and robustly at the time,” he revealed. “We have to make (the school) aware and reduce the level or risk of exposing them to the dangers.

“The report has equal judgements—but top priority is safeguarding.

“If a school fails on ‘safeguarding’ alone, its leadership automatically fails, despite all other good practice, even though this was an isolated incident.”

Safeguarding children alone puts the school into ‘special measures’, despite however successful the school is in all other aspects.

Ofsted will now be returning to Sir John Cass and the six private Muslim schools for further inspection. Tower Hamlets education authority was “confident” Sir John Cass would pull through with the action plan now drawn up.