By Aaliah Khan

Twitter: @AaliaASNews


Amidst a sea of rumours, scandal, blame and accusations Faisal khan has tried to remain calm and composed. He has been pitted as the ring leader in Bradford in the Trojan horse scandal; an operation believed to have started by school governors across Bradford, Birmingham and Tower Hamlets to impose Islamic extremist views within schools. Faisal now speaks to the Asian Sunday to reveal his story.

The Ex Respect party councillor, and up until recently a governor at Laisterdyke Business and Enterprise College in Bradford, was ousted as a governor for supposedly being the ring leader in Bradford for an Islamic takeover in education. Faisal, along with the entire governing body, was sacked and replaced by Bradford council due to an Ofsted report which raised concerns over the way the governors were handling the school. Faisal laughed when asked if he was trying to impose extremist views within schools, “Definitely not, we were trying to improve standards in education that was our main focus. There is an element of meeting the needs of Muslim kids in schools but that’s really a small part, and there have never been any issues around that. For us it’s about setting high standards.”

Since Faisal got linked to the Trojan horse scandal he has been holding many talks and events to try and bring justice to his name and intentions within the education sector. He blames many newspaper articles and media coverage for defaming his character. He says they have “looked at this Trojan horse scandal and said who’s got the most links with the man from Birmingham, Tahir Alam, and have linked me to him.” Tahir Alam is the man accused of being the ring leader in the Trojan horse scandal for Birmingham. Faisal went on to clarify his relationship with Mr. Alam “I had nothing to hide if people asked me if I knew Tahir or had visited him I would admit I have because I wanted to go to a school that was outstanding with fantastic results, and his school had that.”

Mr Khan also had many allegations of his own against Bradford Council, and passionately expressed that he felt that the entire board of governors were discriminated against due to their religion and faith; “For me the issue has been that if we wasn’t for Muslim governors would we have been treated the same way and not listened to? In the last four years we’ve had the best ever results at Laisterdyke, and they need to be higher, but we expect to be treated in a fair, transparent way in regards to the local authority.” He believed that the local authority officer did not deal with the governors fairly and “deliberately misaligned us to make us look bad such as the Ofsted report.”

Many of the other governors also felt that injustice had been done towards them. Rifat Parveen the ex chair of governors at LBEC stated that the “Justice system is corrupt” she believed that the “Local government is incompetent” and the “Child is the most valuable asset.” She went on to implore that nobody believed them and the leadership at LBEC was at a poor standard.

Similarly to Rifat, Faisal also believes that the true problem is that the “Leadership team at LBEC is weak.” In his view being a governor means that they should be able to question, challenge and scrutinise, and they have been ousted for doing exactly that, “They criticised us for intervening with operational matters well as governors you have to do that when things go really wrong.”  He believed that the senior achievement officer had been “Masking the under performance of the leadership team, and that of the head teacher.” He also said that the senior achievement officer suggested that the governors had no understanding, but Faisal emphasised “We do know what we are talking about; he’s worked to hide the work of the governors and said that they aren’t functioning, but he’s failed to highlight the inadequacies of the leadership team.” Faisal defended his role and responsibilities in the past by stating “The Ofsted report said governors need to upscale themselves so we organised our own training, I don’t think any other governing body has done that.” He mentioned that the standards of education in Bradford were not where they should be “The Numbers speak for themselves we are 100/108, which is bottom of the relegation table.” And that removing governing bodies is partly the problem “It underlines the underperformance within schools because if you remove governing bodies then what happens?”

Ratna Lachman, Director of Just West Yorkshire, a human rights group, stated that the “Governors have been undermined, and the education in Bradford has also been undermined as getting ethnic minority governors is difficult as it is.” Faisal echoed the words of Ratna as he also believed “Ethnic minority governors who are competent and know what they’re talking about are seen as a threat and eventually they’re removed.” A parent whose child studied at Laisterdyke said “There isn’t the right help from the school that the children need.”

Faisal concluded by stating that they might have been removed from the school but they can still hold them to account. In his view “False information was given about the governing body and we weren’t even given the chance to explain what the truth was.” He has started a petition which asks for investigation and holds to account any wrong doing committed by local authority and the school. Faisal is still a councillor and will be for next two years; “I’m not going away” he says.

LBEC refused to comment and Cllr Ralph Berry was uncontactable