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Trojan Horse’ whistleblowers were assured by DfE their identity would be kept secret, BHA can reveal

Whistleblowers at the centre of the ‘Trojan Horse’ scandal were assured right from the start by Department for Education (DfE) officials that their identities would be kept a secret, the British Humanist Association (BHA) can reveal. The revelations come amid ongoing acrimony over news that the National College for Teaching and Leadership wrote to the whistleblowers and told them that transcripts of interviews given to Peter Clarke, the independent investigator into the scandal, would be disclosed to the teachers accused of wrongdoing. The Department for Education (DfE) has so far declined to comment on the revelations, but following a leak to the Telegraph, the BHA can now confirm that DfE officials gave the whistleblowers similar assurances.

The BHA first contacted the DfE with issues concerning Park View School, the school at the centre of the Trojan Horse scandal, in January 2014, after having been approached by several staff with concerns. It wasn't until late February that there was any press around the scandal, after some of the whistleblowers’ allegations leaked to the Sunday Times, and until early March that the Trojan Horse letter appeared in the press. In April, the whistleblowers working with the BHA decided to publicise the bulk of their allegations against the school, becoming the first to set out substantial allegations about what had occurred.

The BHA can now also confirm that when it first contacted the DfE, officials from its Due Diligence and Counter Extremism Division assured it repeatedly that whistleblower identities would be protected. Officials wrote, ‘I understand the need for them to protect their identities so that they cannot be identified by the school… I’d like to assure [the whistleblowers] that we will treat this correspondence in confidence and respect their wishes not to be identified as the complainants.  Should we need to share the document with others, we’ll ensure that we redact details that would identify them. We’ve dealt with whistleblowers before and understand the sensitivities of such cases.’

BHA Campaigns Manager Richy Thompson, who worked with the whistleblowers at the time, commented, ‘The whistleblowers we worked with during the Trojan Horse scandal all continue to believe their safety is under threat and so any exposure of their identities would be extremely unwelcome. Given the assurances they received on this point from both Department for Education officials and from Peter Clarke, it is amazing that this is now a subject of debate some three years later.

‘We hope the Department for Education sticks to its word and intervenes to ensure that whistleblowers cannot be identified, as it is vital that in circumstances like these people feel able to speak out.’

Notes

For further comment or information please contact the BHA’s Campaigns Manager Richy Thompson on 0781 5589 636 or richy@humanism.org.uk.

Read today’s Telegraph story: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2017/01/06/exclusive-trojan-horse-whistleblowers-given-government-assurance/

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.

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