May calls on Gove to get tough on extremism

Home Secretary Theresa May has publicly criticised the DfE’s handling of allegations of extremism in some Birmingham schools, but Michael Gove blames her department, the Home Office.

The row between the Cabinet colleagues sparked off on Tuesday, when Theresa May released a letter questioning whether the DfE was aware of allegations about extremism in Birmingham schools back in 2010, the Telegraph reports. “If so, why did nobody act,” she asked. “I am aware that several investigations are still ongoing and those investigations are yet to conclude.  But 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.”

Michael Gove claimed that the Home Office is not doing enough to combat the alleged ‘Trojan Horse’ plot. Sources close to him say that he believes there is a reluctance in Whitehall to confront extremism, unless it develops into terrorism. “Some have been wary of drawing attention to this, as it might be seen as Islamophobic,” a DfE official said. “That is why there has been a reluctance to acknowledge what has been going on.”

“Why is the Department for Education wanting to blame other people for information they had in 2010,” a home office source asked. “Lord knows what more they have overlooked on the subject of the protection of kids in state schools? It scares me.”

What do you think of this tit-for-tat dispute between members of the Cabinet – and the situation in some of Birmingham’s schools that sparked it off?

2 thoughts on “May calls on Gove to get tough on extremism

  1. I find it extraordinary that people responsible for running our entire country should be incapable of presenting a well thought through and reasoned case for addressing issues of extremism. Fear is not a very sound basis for wise decisions, so the concern about appearing to be Islamophobic has shown that the people governing our country aren’t really particularly well qualified to be doing so.

    By lumping in all Muslims together in one undifferentiated whole, this concern fails to recognise that portion of the Islamic community which seeks to refrain from identifying with extremism. The concern itself is a mindless, probably unintentional, expression of Islamophobia – a fear which prevents people from thinking clearly and logically.

    Please, can people try to be more discerning when choosing the candidates they wish to vote for in elections? A good start would be to select candidates who are capable of listening and responding thoughtfully, as opposed to candidates who represent a party line.

  2. Exremism in all forms is unacceptable in school. There should be a full investigation without fear. Those institutions which have adopted unacceptable practices eg propaganda should be held to account. Its no good sitting in Whitehall pontificating there needs to be a real commitment and support of local people who are opposing this. It needs to be done fairly though and based on educational criteria ,not knee jerk reaction to scare stories.

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