Robin Richardson’s response to the DfE

Robin Richardson is  is a former director of the Runnymede Trust, and the manager of the Insted website on equality and diversity in education. He has been an important contributor in the ‘Trojan Horse’ debate, pointing out the obligations of the Department of Education to comply with equalities legislation and the need for fairness in dealing with Muslim educationalists. In a recent posting, he notes:

…Several school governors or former school governors in Birmingham have recently received a letter from the Department for Education (DfE) informing them that the Secretary of State considers they have engaged in ‘conduct aimed at undermining fundamental British values’ and that in consequence they are to be disqualified from being a school governor in England. … One of the ‘fundamental British values’ which the governors are alleged to have undermined is the rule of law.  Principles of the rule of law include natural justice: the ability of an accused to answer charges against them, which means knowing the precise nature of the charges, and of the evidence underlying the charges. The principles apply not just to criminal trials but to any proceedings, administrative or judicial, which could result in significant prejudice.

In the threatened action, and in the way the allegations against the governors are framed, the letter violates basic principles of the rule of law. The lack of precision as to what each individual governor is alleged to have done and the extent of their individual responsibility, and the reliance on anonymous hearsay evidential material, are causes for grave concern. There is an irony in the fact that the Department for Education is accusing people of conduct aimed at undermining fundamental British values but is itself guilty of such conduct… click here.