A school principal caught up in the so-called Trojan Horse scandal in which staff with hardline Muslim views allegedly sought to promote Islam over other faiths has been struck off.
Jahangir Akbar has been banned from teaching for at least five years after investigators found he “failed to uphold public trust in the profession and maintain high standards of ethics and behaviours”.
The National College for Teaching and Leadership panel also found he had “undermined fundamental British values of mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs”.
Mr Akbar, 38, acting principal at Oldknow Academy in Birmingham, was found to have decreased the diversity of religious education for pupils – aged seven to 11 – and banned the school from holding Christmas performances or putting up a Christmas tree “in order to have more time to focus on teaching and learning”.
In a ruling published by the government, the panel said that “by decreasing the diversity of religious education and eliminating a diverse range of cultural events, there was a failure (by Akbar) to promote the spiritual, moral, cultural and mental development of pupils at the school”.
Mr Akbar also “reacted inappropriately” by shouting at a parent when challenged about his daughter’s education, and said he was “glad” when a pupil was said to have been bullied.
He was said to have acted dishonestly and also put pressure on staff to countersign cheques for expenditure which had not been properly authorised.
The acting principal also allowed members of the school’s parents’ association to have unrestricted and/or unaccompanied access to the school, without them having undergone police checks – a safeguarding risk, the panel found.
Oldknow was inspected by the Education Funding Agency (EFA) and Ofsted when the Trojan Horse scandal broke, with an explosive and anonymous letter alleging hardline Muslims were involved in a co-ordinated plot to take over some schools in Birmingham.
The previously outstanding school was rated as “failing”, with “inadequate” ratings for behaviour and safety, after the inspections in April 2014.
It converted to an academy two years earlier, meaning it was not required to teach religious education from an agreed syllabus.
Oldknow Academy has subsequently been renamed as Ark Chamberlain Primary Academy.