|Message ||Statement given outside Park View School on Monday 9 June by Lee Donaghy, Assistant Principal Park View School
On behalf of the staff of Park View, I want to say first and foremost that we reject this Ofsted report. It is simply not true that the school does not do enough to protect our pupils from the risks of extremism. Every day, my colleagues and I work hard to ensure our pupils are disciplined, understand and respect difference and most of all achieve well, and in the process gain a full understanding of their religion ‐ the surest guards against extremism of any kind. It is also simply not true that pupils at this school are isolated from British society. As our termly newsletters show, this school provides our pupils with opportunities to rival any state school in Birmingham, indeed in Britain. This is a normal state school, like thousands of others across Britain. 98% of our pupils just happen to be Muslims. British Muslims.
I came into teaching through the Teach First programme in 2004 and came to Park View through the Future Leaders programme in 2010. As a young person from a working class family in an urban area of Merseyside, with no family history of higher education, a first class education was transformational for my own life chances and gave me opportunities I would not otherwise have enjoyed. As such my career in teaching is driven by a determination to deliver the promise education holds to as many young people as possible. Put simply, my aim is to break the link between demographics and destiny for those pupils I serve. An aim enshrined in the mission of Park View Educational Trust and one shared – as he spoke about with the very same words on Saturday – by the Education Secretary.
Despite being an agnostic this school closely reflects my values and the moral purpose that brought me into teaching, as it does those of my colleagues from all faith backgrounds and none. For the community in which you all now stand ‐ as visitors covering a story ‐ our school stands as a beacon of hope against a tide of isolation, poverty, drugs, crime and yes, potential extremism. Park View is part of the solution, not part of the problem. It is a beacon like no other in this area, a school which achieves what many thought impossible – poor, inner city, Muslim children achieving as well as any children, anywhere. And now that beacon risks being extinguished. We have nothing to hide. Talk to the parents, talk to our former pupils. They will tell you this is an outstanding school, with outstanding results, where pupils are taught right from wrong. They will tell you there is no segregation or extremism. And they will tell you that this is a rich, vibrant school that is part of its community. This school is part of Britain, and Britain is part of this school.