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Government has ‘washed its hands’ of teacher who showed Mohammed pictures
From The Telegraph and the Huddersfield Examiner
The Government has “washed its hands” of the Batley Grammar School teacher who was suspended after showing pictures of the Prophet Mohammed in class, it has been claimed. Ministers are not doing enough to ensure that Batley Multi Academy Trust’s investigation is “unduly influenced” by local imams, according to the National Secular Society (NSS). I think they mean 'isn't'. Sub editing is a thing of the past.
Officials at the Department for Education (DfE) are also accused of failing to ensure that the probe will examine the school’s reaction to the incident and whether it was appropriate to immediately suspend the teacher.
“This is a bit of a test case for how these things are handled, that’s why it is important,” said Stephen Evans, chief executive of the NSS. “Here we have a teacher in fear of his life, in hiding and suspended from his job – yet there is nothing to indicate the materials were not handled correctly. We are concerned that the Department for Education doesn’t seem interested enough given that the outcome of this will have national implications. They have washed their hands of it.”
It is having national implications already, albeit events outside teaching. Look at the demonstrations at Slough Town Hall every Friday.
Batley Multi Academy Trust which oversees Batley Grammar School, said investigators will examine how the material came to be used in class on March 22. . . investigation, which was initially due to begin on April 12, is now underway, led by an independent barrister "with significant education experience". The trust has issued a statement this week, saying it will report to parents and staff at the end of May.
"The Trust has appointed an independent barrister with significant education experience to undertake and lead the external investigation," the statement reads. "The investigation is underway and the investigator will have access to relevant expertise. The investigator has no prior connection with the Trust or any of its trustees or employees. After gathering evidence, the investigator will make recommendations to the Trust to help inform its next steps, so that, where necessary, appropriate lessons for the school and the Trust can be learned and action taken. Thank you for your patience and understanding as the investigation proceeds."
Mr Evans said that it was crucial that the investigation also scrutinised the school’s response to the crisis, which included suspending the teacher after protesters arrived at the school gates.
“We are concerned that the terms of reference seem to be a bit limited,” he said. “Any investigation should cover the conduct of the school – but it seems to be about how these materials came to be used in class. What we don’t want this to be is an exercise in justifying the school’s actions. That would be awful for the freedom to teach and freedom of expression.”
A spokesperson for Batley Multi Academy Trust declined to comment on whether any local imams had been appointed to the trust’s panel...