We are pleased that the Trojan Horse Hoax has finally been exposed by a welcomed cross-party Education Select Committee report, but has too much damage already been done?
Last year the sensationalist spotlight fell on Birmingham.  Amidst the barrage of accusations lay an ideological agenda,  one which rubber-stamped an existing narrative in the minds of people. That narrative says Muslims are here as a pervasive fifth column whose long-term goal is to take over this country and overturn its institutions. In an attempt to indoctrinate the minds of the general public, every new controversy (actual or manufactured) is recruited as proof for this narrative by such ideologues. A welcomed report by the influential Education Select Committee shatters much of what was claimed to be true in the Trojan Hoax affair, namely that there was no evidence of any ‘radical’ or ‘extremist’ plot. 
These events drive home the fact that whilst much of the media acts as the delivery mechanism for the radicalisation of the masses, it is some politicians who manufacture the necessary outrage. It is the claim of extremism that was evident in the Ofsted leaks to the press, but were absent in the inspection reports that remains the clearest example of how institutionalised the securitisation of Muslims has become.
Now that the Trojan Hoax affair has done its damage, the intervention by the Education Select Committee is a welcome, albeit late intervention.
Michael Gove, the neoconservative politician, who was at the helm of the Department for Education during the affair has been accused of politicising Ofsted. His book Celsius 7/7 has been accurately described by Geoffrey Wheatcroft as a ‘Muslim – bashing diatribe’.  The fact that Celsius 7/7 contains a chapter titled ‘Trojan Horse’ – let’s just say the irony was not lost on Muslim parents in Birmingham.
MPs on the cross-party Education Select Committee criticised Gove’s response to Trojan Horse, he was adamant there was an extremist takeover of schools in Birmingham and used Ofsted to establish his neocon standpoint. Gove’s removal was a means to repair relations with stakeholders but if—as it has been claimed —that the neocons, including Gove, are still shaping policy in the Department for Education, the direction of education policy does not bode well for Muslims.
The Committee’s report makes clear,
“No evidence of extremism or radicalisation, apart from a single isolated incident, was found by any of the inquiries and there was no evidence of a sustained plot nor of a similar situation pertaining elsewhere in the country.” 
There were issues in those schools as there are in most schools. There are widespread problems with governors rubber stamping the actions of the head teacher rather than acting as they should, an arm of accountability of the school and as a critical friend. There are also many failings in leadership of schools, as well as in relation to teaching and learning. Whilst in most schools Ofsted does its best to support schools to improve, unfortunately Muslim independent schools, as well as schools in which there is either a significant presence of Muslims on governing bodies or in the Senior Management Team, have been treated with a level of suspicion that suggests clear discriminatory practice.
Often there is a perceived suspicion or belief that children are being radicalised or there is extremism in schools and inspectors’ behaviour suggest they are looking for a reason to place the school in special measures.
Many perceive Ofsted to be politicised and that perception is damaging to its reputation. The report also suggests Ofsted needs to restore confidence in its position as an independent inspectorate. Its lack of consistency in inspections, the way it leaks sensational information, the manner in which it questions children have inflicted irreparable harm to its reputation.
The report concludes,
“Ofsted’s inability to identify problems at some Birmingham schools on first inspection when they were found shortly afterwards to be failing raises questions about the appropriateness of the framework and the reliability and robustness of Ofsted’s judgements and how they are reached. Either Ofsted relied too heavily on raw data and did not dig deep enough on previous occasions or alternatively the schools deteriorated so quickly that Ofsted reports were rapidly out of date, or it could be that inspectors lost objectivity and came to some overly negative conclusions because of the surrounding political and media storm. Whichever of these options is closest to the truth, confidence in Ofsted has been undermined and efforts should be made by the inspectorate to restore it in Birmingham and beyond.” 
If Ofsted is unwilling to act as anything other than a politicised arm of government, any remaining faith will be diminished and it will be clear to all that it is in fact Ofsted that will need to be placed into special measures.
Yusuf Patel is the founder of SREIslamic, which provides advice, support and training to parents concerned with how Sex and Relationship Education (SRE/RHE/RSHE) is taught in schools, particularly at the primary level. SREIslamic has conducted hundreds of seminars across the country since it was founded in 2008 in order to inform Muslim parents of their legal rights in the area of SRE (RHE/RSHE) as well as running workshops covering the responsibility of Muslim parents to impart age appropriate sex education in line with their values. Yusuf works for a mental health charity.