In this day and age it is hard to say that we are intolerant but by promoting complete free speech we are allowing a dangerous precedent to form. It is not right to allow a normal state school to extol religious sentiment, for a faith school there is no problem in allowing such sentiment, however, in a school where an unbiased education is provided such deviance cannot be tolerated.

It was perhaps inevitable that a scandal such as the current one facing our government would arise at some point, the dangers of extolling free speech when coupled with the ‘grey area’ of religion in politics makes our system susceptible to deviance. Our politicians fear condemnation for touching the subject of religion facing retribution and condemnation for poking into matters that do not concern them. However, the unfortunate side-effect is that certain factions of society see this as an opportunity to corrupt the system, in this case the school system. The governors in the 21 schools that have been a part of the scandal took advantage of the ineffective government role in religion, feeling that they would not be condemned for attempting to convert state organisations into Muslim faith schools.

Many of the ethnic minorities in the current society feel isolated from the mainstream British culture; this is particularly evident in the North of England, where there are entire streets and areas where only those of an ethnic background make their lives. Consequently, these areas of society feel that they should be able to promote their own values in their local communities. This led to the unfortunate precedent where the prevalent Muslim population in some of the state schools felt that they were allowed to transform a state school into one of faith. One of the offenders, Park View Academy, are not a registered faith school, therefore despite having some control over what they teach they cannot actually choose to radicalise into a faith school. The creation of schools such as the 21 involved in the scandal further isolates those of an ethnic background forming a vicious cycle where the problem simply multiplies.

Whilst these situations appear to indicate that the ‘Trojan Horse’ scandal would have occurred eventually it may have all been prevented if OFSTED had been more vigilant. The body had been warned of the beginnings of the scandal brewing in 2010 but had allowed the problem to fester until it finally reached boiling point this year. Had OFSTED posed a credible threat to the plans to transform the state schools into faith schools then perhaps they would have been nipped in the bud. However, the inefficiency and apparent laziness on the part of OFSTED allowed the problem to become even more pressing; perhaps Gove’s department of education was to shoulder some of the blame, but for once the education secretary cannot be held solely responsible. The fact of the matter is that a regulatory body such as OFSTED should be prepared and willing to do their job which is to make sure that the state machine is well-oiled and efficient. Currently, I along with many others have little faith that OFSTED can suddenly jump to attention and fix the problem that they created.

It is overly simplistic to blame the rise of the Trojan Horse scandal as being inevitable due to negligence, the promotion of free speech and the very nature of the society in which we live. The primary contributor to the overheating of this situation is the gross negligence of OFSTED in doing their job, if they had assumed some modicum of responsibility for sorting out the situation when it first came to light four years ago at the beginning of the new government then perhaps we wouldn’t be in the current situation which appears bleak and hard to solve. Some blame must be put on the shoulders of Gove’s administration for not dealing with this black cloud earlier, however, how can we trust that we are receiving a balanced and decent education that the state provides for us (using the taxpayer’s money, of course) if regulatory bodies are lazy and frankly, not up for the job?

DISCLAIMER: The articles on our website are not endorsed by, or the opinions of Shout Out UK (SOUK), but exclusively the views of the author.