A FORMER head teacher of Sidney Stringer School will play a key role in the inquiry into claims Birmingham schools have been targeted by extremists.
Ian Kershaw, who was at the school between 1986 and 1997, has been appointed as special advisor to Birmingham City Council which is investigating the so-called Trojan Horse allegations that hardline Muslims have plotted to take control of as many as 25 schools.
For the past nine years Mr Kershaw has been managing director of Newcastle-based education consultancy Northern Education, a company chaired by former Birmingham MP and education secretary Baroness Estelle Morris.
While at Sidney Stringer his leadership skills were said to have been outstanding, according to Ofsted.
He will work alongside former Met anti-terror chief Peter Clarke whose appointment earlier this week by education secretary Michael Gove was described as desperately unfortunate by West Midlands Police chief constable Chris Sims.
“Peter Clarke has many qualities but people will inevitably draw unwarranted conclusions from his former role as National Co-ordinator for Counter Terrorism,” Mrs Sims added.
The inquiry which will also involved West Midlands Police, the National Association of Head teachers (NAHT) and Ofsted is expected to report its findings in six months.
Birmingham council has so far declined to name the schools where it has been alleged Muslim extremists have plotted to overthrow moderate school leaders.
The allegations made in an unsigned and undated letter were of a small but radical group of Muslims pursuing its own agenda in the classrooms, crediting it with forcing a change of leadership at four schools.
Birmingham council leader Sir Albert Bore said: “If these are the genuine concerns of a whistleblower, we will afford the protection necessary to the investigation of those concerns. If however we find evidence that takes us to a motivation behind these claims which is not based on professional concern, we will act accordingly.”