London: A British Sikh head of a school has alleged that he was pushed out of his post by the school's Muslim governors for opposing their move to ban sex education classes and allow only halal food.
Balwant Bains claimed he was made to sign a non-disclosure agreement preventing him from making his concerns public and that he was ‘bullied and intimidated’ in the months before he left Saltley School in Birmingham in November 2013.
Bains claimed the governing body wanted to scrap sex education classes and allow only halal food at the specialist state-funded science school, the 'Sunday Times' reported.
The controversy at Saltley, which has about 950 predominantly Muslim pupils aged 11-16, is the latest involving claims about governors seeking to impose a greater emphasis on Islamic teaching and beliefs in secular schools.
Last week Ofsted, the UK schools inspectorate, conducted an emergency inspection at Park View Academy, a neighbouring school, after claims that non-Muslim staff members were being sidelined by a predominantly Muslim leadership.
The management at Park View is believed to have been considering plans to take over other schools in the area.
UK education secretary Michael Gove is understood to have met officials to discuss events in Birmingham and asked to be informed of any developments. Problems at Saltley are understood to have arisen last year when Bains was asked by the governors to make various changes relating to the curriculum. "The governors demanded that he get rid of sex education and citizenship classes because they were deemed un-Islamic," a friend of Bains told the newspaper.
"He was also told that he should introduce Islamic studies into the curriculum, even though the school is a non-faith school, and he was told that only halal food should be served on the premises. Bains refused their demands...," he added. Bains went on ‘gardening leave’ last November after a report by Ofsted that concluded that he had a "dysfunctional" relationship with the governors.
Ahson Mohammed, Saltley's interim head teacher, confirmed that halal food had been introduced at the school canteen but said the decision was based on ‘the make-up of the students rather than a demand from the school’.