Trojan Horse School: Nansen Primary head teacher dismissed

Nansen Primary School in Saltley.

Nansen Primary School in Saltley.

The interim head of a Birmingham school embroiled in the Trojan Horse scandal has been axed after less than two months in the job.

Dr Rashida Sharif’s departure from Nansen Primary – placed in special measures last year – was confirmed after a damning Ofsted report found violence, racism and wasted funds.

Highlighting the decision to spend almost £7,000 on upgrades to the headteacher’s room and a meeting room, the document said: “Some decisions made by the interim headteacher have not been in the best interest of the pupils.”

Dr Sharif’s appointment was revealed to parents in a letter on January 5.

Adrian Packer, executive principal of the Core Education Trust, responsible for Nansen Primary…. AN ex-circus performer who taught singer Amy Winehouse

But executive principal Adrian Packer – himself criticised by Ofsted for failing to keep a close enough eye on Dr Sharif – said in a letter to families yesterday that she had been “removed from her post immediately” following February’s inspection.

He went on: “Having made reasonable progress in the previous monitoring inspection in November, we are of course disappointed that progress has stalled and that there are clearly many issues for us to address in order to put the school back on track towards the removal of special measures.

“You will note from the report that many of the concerns relate to the leadership of the school at the time of the visit in February.

“You will know from my previous letter to you immediately after the inspection, that the interim headteacher at the time of the inspection, and to whom this latest report is addressed, was removed from her post immediately.”

Look: Secret documents allege conspiracy at Birmingham schools

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Mr Packer said the headteachers from Arden and Nelson Mandela schools, Tony Lacey and Azita Zohhadi, previously involved at Nansen, had once again stepped in.

He told parents: “I have also been running staff surgeries and can report a more positive picture and improving staff morale at this time.

“Our previous more positive inspection findings from November were the result of a strong team effort from the heads of Nelson Mandela and Arden supported by myself and lead trustee, Pat Smart.

“Although we understand you will be disappointed by this latest report, we trust you will appreciate that the right team is now back in place and are well equipped to steer the school back to a reasonable progress judgement for the next visit.

“Since the latest monitoring inspection to which this report relates, we have focused heavily on improving pupil behaviour and monitoring the quality of teaching.”

Mr Packer said a search was continuing to find a permanent principal.

Nansen was placed in special measures with four other Birmingham schools following a series of investigations into the Trojan Horse claims of takeover plots by hardline Muslims.

But the latest Ofsted inspection highlighted a string of problems.

Teachers told inspectors that children as young as eight hit them without any action being taken when they reported it to the school’s leadership.

Racist name calling was said to be a “regular occurrence” with pupils saying they did not complain because nothing would happen.

Behaviour was found to have deteriorated to an “inadequate” level since special measures were imposed.

Parents told inspectors they were concerned about children coming home with “bumps and bruises”.

The report said: “Leadership has weakened.

“The school is in an extremely fragile position.

“Senior leaders have not raised pupils’ achievement or improved the quality of teaching.

“The trustees and the executive principal have not kept a close enough check on the work of the interim headteacher. Consequently, some decisions made by the interim headteacher have not been in the best interest of the pupils.

“For instance, while resources are needed to support pupils’ learning, almost £7,000 was spent on refurbishing the headteacher’s room and a meeting room.”

The report stated: “Pupils, especially older boys, were observed hitting, punching and thumping each other in the playground.”

Children’s understanding of life in modern Britain and of different faiths and cultures was found to be “insecure” and “not taught well”.

Inspectors also found: “Members of staff told inspectors that pupils as young as eight years of age hit them and senior leaders fail to take appropriate action.

“The majority of staff who completed the Ofsted staff questionnaire raised concerns about pupils’ behaviour.

“Pupils told inspectors that name calling, particularly racist name calling, is a regular occurrence.

“Some pupils stated that they do not report incidents of racist name calling because staff do not act on their concerns.”

Dr Sharif was also found to have reduced support from staff at Nelson Mandela and Arden schools.

In one lesson pupils were told to draw a picture rather than complete the written part of the planned activity.

Standards in reading, writing and maths were found to be lower than in a monitoring inspection carried out last November.

Children were found to “scribble, reverse numbers and letters, and produce untidy, careless work”.

Teaching was judged to be “inadequate” and worse than when Nansen, in Saltley, was placed in special measures.

Nansen told the Mail the school’s new leadership had improved methods of reporting behavioural concerns and there were no “live” staff complaints about teachers being abused.

A separate report for Park View School, which was also implicated in the Trojan Horse scandal, found it had made “reasonable progress” towards the lifting of its special measures.

The school, in Alum Rock, said in a statement it was “particularly pleased that improved overall achievement, better teaching and well-mannered and polite student behaviour are all highlighted”.

Teaching was found to have improved as a result of “well thought-out plans” to improve the maths and science academy.

But around a quarter of staff who responded to a questionnaire did not believe the school was well-led and managed.

Golden Hillock and Oldknow, two of the other schools caught up in the Trojan Horse furore, were also found to have been making “reasonable progress” towards the removal of special measures.


Teachers at the centre of the ‘Trojan Horse’ plot to takeover Birmingham schools exchanged messages that the murder of soldier Lee Rigby was a hoax, it emerged today.

A damning report into Birmingham schools has unearthed ‘compelling evidence’ of an attempt by a group of hardline Muslims ‘to gain control of governing bodies’, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said.

The investigation, led by former anti-terror chief Peter Clarke, revealed details of a WhatsApp group called The Park View Brotherhood which also included a description of homosexuals as ‘animals’ with ‘satanic ways’.


Four different investigations into the Trojan Horse allegations of a hardline Muslim takeover plot at a number of Birmingham schools have reported back. Here are the main findings of each:

Peter Clarke report, ordered by former education secretary Michael Gove

Mr Clarke’s inquiry did not look for, or find, evidence of terrorism, radicalisation or violent extremism in the schools of concern.

It concluded there was a deliberate effort by a number of individuals to introduce an ‘intolerant and aggressive Islamic ethos’ into a number of Birmingham schools.

This was achieved in some schools by gaining influence on governing bodies, installing ‘sympathetic’ head teachers and senior staff, appointing ‘like-minded’ people to key positions, and removing heads who were not ‘compliant’ with a particular agenda.

The 129-page report was highly critical of Birmingham City Council, accusing the authority of failing to support under-pressure head teachers who were dealing with inappropriate behaviour by governors.

Ian Kershaw report, ordered by Birmingham City Council

Found no evidence of a ‘conspiracy to promote an anti-British agenda, violent extremism or radicalisation in schools in east Birmingham’.

It concluded that key individuals were ‘promoting and encouraging certain Islamic principles’ in Birmingham classrooms amid poor oversight from education chiefs.

He suggested problems were allowed to run ‘unchecked’ due to what he branded ‘weaknesses in the system and poor oversight of governance’ mainly by the city council, but also by Ofsted, the Education Funding Agency and the Department for Education.


The watchdog inspected 21 schools in the city, concluding that a ‘culture of fear and intimidation’ had developed in some schools.

Warned that Birmingham City Council failed to support a number of schools in the area in their efforts to protect pupils from the ‘risks of radicalisation and extremism’.

Five schools placed in special measures as a result: Golden Hillock School, Nansen Primary School and Park View Academy – all run by the Park View Educational Trust (PVET) – as well as Oldknow Academy and Saltley School. A sixth – Alston Primary – was already in special measures.

Education Funding Agency

The EFA, which oversees academies, published highly critical reports on PVET and Oldknow Academy at the same time as the Ofsted findings were made public.

It said PVET had ‘many weaknesses’, breached its funding agreement, and had restricted its curriculum to a ‘conservative Islamic perspective’.

A separate report following the inspection of Oldknow Academy in Small Heath found it was ‘taking on the practices of an Islamic faith school’ and had excluded non-Muslim staff and pupils from an annual trip to Saudi Arabia for three years running.



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