‘Trojan Horse’ headteacher banned from the classroom

The acting principal of a primary school at the centre of the Trojan Horse allegations has been banned from the classroom.

A prohibition order was issued by the National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) yesterday. A panel found Jahangir Akbar had allowed an “undue amount of religious influence”.

The school, now renamed Ark Chamberlain primary academy, was one of the Birmingham schools implicated in the alleged takeover of the city’s schools by hardline Muslims.

He is the first teacher from the Trojan Horse schools to face sanctions. A further 10 teachers are currently facing NCTL hearings.

Mr Akbar, 38, came to Oldknow Academy, a non-faith school catering for a large proportion of Muslim children, as the vice principal in April 2013. Previously, he had taught at Islamic schools for 10 years, as well as three years at a non-faith school.

He became acting interim principal less than a year later after the principal left the school.

The NCTL panel found 11 allegations against Mr Akbar proved, after the hearing – which took place over a period of 11 days at the end of last year.

He was found to have decreased the diversity of religious education at the school, by cancelling Christmas, Diwali and Easter celebrations, and this meant he “did not take appropriate action to ensure a broad and balanced approach to religion in his capacity as Vice Principal”.

The panel said the governors were “clearly having a major influence in the religious direction that the school was taking” and Mr Akbar was not equipped, due to his lack of managerial experience and of teaching in a non-faith school, to “challenge the governors, some of whom clearly had their own agenda”.

Mr Akbar said he was in the “wrong place at the wrong time”, which the panel agreed with, but said his actions were deliberate and his “previous experience may have influenced his approach”.

The panel added: “It has been submitted on his behalf that he became out of his depth and the panel concurs with this submission. Against this background, the panel has found that, over time, by his actions and omissions, Mr Akbar came to agree with the position held by the governors.”

The NCTL said: “Furthermore, although the panel has found that Mr Akbar agreed to the inclusion of an undue amount of religious influence, the panel has not made a finding that Mr Akbar was promoting religious extremism.”

He was also found to have undermined the tolerance and/or respect for the faith and beliefs of others, asked for the names governors without disclosure and barring service checks to be omitted from records before a government inspection and allowed parents without such checks to have unaccompanied access to the school.

Mr Akbar has been banned from the profession “indefinitely” but can apply for the prohibition order to be set aside after five years.

On behalf of education secretary Nicky Morgan, Paul Heathcote said: “He has failed to uphold public trust in the profession and maintain high standards of ethics and behaviours. Mr Akbar’s behaviour was misconduct of a serious nature, falling significantly short of the standards expected of a teacher.”

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