15/05/2014 Midlands Today


15/05/2014

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Good evening. Teachers and pupils have hit back at allegations that

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Muslim extremists are trying to take over their school in Birmingham.

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They claim the education and futures of young people are being damaged by

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the controversy. Our special correspondent Peter Wilson spent the

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day at Park View Academy and has this exclusive report.

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The gates and fences surrounding Park View can seem intimidating. But

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it's exactly the same as any modern school. They take security

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seriously. We're the first TV camera team to be allowed inside to see the

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school for ourselves. Good morning. Good morning.

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Park View school is in Alum Rock. One of the most deprived areas of

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Birmingham. At one time, the exam results were amongst the poorest in

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Britain. Now these children are getting top grades. But this academy

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school has been accused by some of becoming increasingly strict along

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Islamic principles. These year eight pupils appeared to be segregated.

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Girls seperated from the boys. Children sit wherever they want to

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sit. I think boys and girls in any school in the country will

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automatically sit with the other girls, automatically sit with other

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boys. I don't stop these girls or boys sitting anywhere. They just sit

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where they like. The white headscarves are the approved hijabs.

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But I was told they're not compulsory. It's your choice if you

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want to wear it or not. It's not like you have to be forced to wear

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it. No matter what you do or what you wear, you are treated equally.

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Miss Bibi, wearing the purple headscarf, is a science teacher.

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It's exam time. This revision class had boys and girls sat together. The

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school is being investigated by the City Council, Ofsted and the

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government. These teenagers claim the allegations of extremism could

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affected their job prospects in the future. I was very proud of the

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school. That we had done so well in such a harsh environment. This area

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being a very deprived area. And all of a sudden, it got this bad

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publiccity. And I would have a feeling that people would stereotype

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me in some kind of way. There is no extremists being taught here. I

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mean, there is RE lessons. All religions are taught equally. We do

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community cohesion. All religions coming together. People of different

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cultures come and live together. But for months, allegations, like

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thunder, have been rolling around this school. The best way of our

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pupils avoiding becoming extremists is to give them a proper and true

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appreciation of their faith. Why, then, have we heard these

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allegations about bullying? Even Christianity being denigrated in

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assemblies? I have no idea why people would choose to make those

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allegations. Clearly, some of them are disgruntled ex`members of staff.

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When you are taking a school from one which has very low expectations

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of pupils to incredibly high expectations of pupils, some people

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along the way are going to be uncomfortable with that. Park view

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School has become the symbol for the whole Trojan Horse saga. `` Park

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View. 25 Birmingham schools being investigated, with 21 of them

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currently waiting for Inspection reports from Ofsted. Children and

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staff today were ignoring all of that and trying to concentrate on

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passing their exams. Peter's here in the studio. What are

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your feelings tonight after spending a long time at the school today? It

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is a very impressive school. They wanted to be transparent and I felt

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that I was able to go where ever I wanted, ask questions, meet pupils

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and get a real feeling for what was going on there. And the school

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itself says, if it has caused any problems, it is because it has

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reflected parents' wishes, 98% of those pupils come from Muslim

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families. What is likely to happen next?

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We will get the Ofsted report into the school and others, getting an

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understanding what is behind some of these allegations and some real

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facts, but this is a huge political story and will only get bigger.

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Thank you. The fund started by teenage cancer

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patient Stephen Sutton has tonight talked ?3.7 million. `` has to know

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went over ?3.7 million. Donations have poured in since the 19`year`old

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from Staffordshire died yesterday morning.

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Across Burntwood, a flurry of yellow ribbons have appeared overnight to

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remember Stephen Sutton. But it's his old school that has become the

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focal point for tributes. Although Stephen insisted his life be

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measured by achievements, and not time, across an hour, Burntwood

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sheared their thoughts on there now famous son. `` shared. He's been

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absolutely awesome. We're so proud of him. I think, as a nation, we are

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proud of him as well. He just lived his life to the full and tried to

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raise as much money for Teenage Cancer Trust. It's just amazing. And

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I think his memory should live on. I live over near Worcester, but I've

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come over. As I was in the area, I couldn't have not driven those extra

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few miles to pay tribute to somebody that is touched millions, really.

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Amongst the sadness, there are signs that Stephen's spirit lives on.

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Stephen's keeping us going. Because we know that is what Stephen would

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have wanted us to do. There are plans for the troll tattoo that

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Stephen insisted on to become an unofficial symbol for fundraising in

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Burntwood. But today was about Remembering the local lad who gave

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so much. He's brought it back together. And hopefully, it will be

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for the good. Do you know what I mean? He will not be forgotten

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about. He will be carried on. For everybody here. Throughout our time,

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the message from Burntwood was the same. Stephen Sutton inspired many

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and made his hometown crowd. A 19`year`old who has left a truly

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remarkable legacy. That's all for tonight. We'll be back in Breakfast

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tomorrow morning from six. So it's goodnight from me and I'll leave you

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with the weather now from Rebecca Wood.

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Thank you. It has certainly been a pleasant day to day, temperatures

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making it up to the 20s widely. As we head through the next few days,

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those temperatures are going to continue to climb. Tomorrow promises

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to be pleasant as well. Fine and dry with brightness and temperatures

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really starting to climb. Overnight tonight, we do have some patchy

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cloud about, which will help keep temperatures up a little, and where

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we get pockets of clear skies, temperatures will fall. Like wind,

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so it could drop to chilly temperatures in the countryside, but

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these values are for towns and cities, so a mild night. Starting

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off tomorrow, chilly start, then it starts to brighten up, good spells

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sunshine through the day, loud here and there, but not at all with

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temperatures up into the 20s, possibly 21 and 22 with light wind,

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and the National forecast next, I will

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prospect for the weekend, which shows we keep it fine, dry and warm.

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And we can leave you with the national picture.

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More warm weather on the way, today almost felt like June across the

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country. Temperatures did hover around 22 degrees, the average for

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June.

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