PCaW Speaks Out on Trojan Horse Case to Protect Future Whistleblowing Teachers
10th January 2017
Public Concern at Work (PCaW) is urging the Department for Education to keep the identity of whistleblowers in the ‘Trojan Horse’ scandal confidential - for their own safety and to ensure teachers feel safe to blow the whistle over wrong doing.
The scandal centred on an alleged move by a small group of hardline Islamic Extremists to seize control of a number of Birmingham schools to promote an extremist agenda. Teaching staff who blew the whistle and gave evidence on the “specific undertaking” that they would remain anonymous, now face being identified in disciplinary hearings against five individuals allegedly at the heart of the plot.
The whistleblowers have received letters from Government lawyers stating their identities maybe revealed in disciplinary proceedings against the five individuals from the school.
PCaW Chief Executive Cathy James, OBE, said, ‘’The whistleblowers who came forward in this case – and thank goodness they did - gave evidence on the grounds they would remain anonymous. For them to now hear they may face being identified is quite simply staggering. We understand they have already been subjected to abuse on social media and other aggravations.
‘’What message does this send out to future whistleblowers? Naming them will not only deter other teachers from whistleblowing but workers in other sectors too. ‘’
The charity is writing to Education Secretary Justine Greening to ask that the Department doesn’t reveal the identity of the whistleblowers.
Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner has accused the Government of ‘failing to act properly’ and said, "The Government must stand by the guarantee of anonymity that was given at the time and which enabled people to give vital evidence about this case, without fear or favour.’’
The DfE is believed to be examining all the legal issues and has not disclosed any witnesses' details, nor has any final decision on whether to do so yet been taken.
An article in the Guardian suggested that the National College for Teaching and Leadership, the body that handle disciplinary hearings, has a policy meaning identities are routinely identified, seemingly at odds with Department for Education guidance. PCaW has submitted a Freedom of Information Request to examine this apparent contradiction.
See the DfE FOI response here.
PCaW has advised over 1600 whistleblowers from the education sector since 2011, using our experience to ensure their concerns are adequately addressed in a way that minimises risk to their personal position. The charity also works with education providers, ensuring clients' whistleblowing policies and procedures are in place and as good as they can be.