Second Oldham headteacherclaims 'Trojan Horse' bullying

A second headteacher from Oldham has spoken of alleged ‘Trojan Horse’ style bullying at a free school in the town.

Fears over attempts to impose an Islamist ethos into British schools re-emerged in Greater Manchester last week when headteacher Trish O’Donnell claimed she was forced out of her job by ‘intimidation’.

Now Rick Hodge, who was due to be principal the Phoenix Free School in Oldham, has said he also suffered a ‘campaign of harassment’ by the school’s Muslim co-founder.

Rick Hodge, who was due to be principal of the Phoenix Free School in Oldham, claims he was bullied in a 'Trojan horse-style' plot

Rick Hodge, who was due to be principal of the Phoenix Free School in Oldham, claims he was bullied in a ‘Trojan horse-style’ plot

Phoenix Free School was based on the idea of having former Armed Forces servicemen and women teaching children in the town, which was hit by race riots in 2001.

But the school failed to open after not enough children applied and Mr Hodge left as principal designate in 2013.

Mr Hodge has now told ‘s Andrew Gilligan that he suffered a ‘campaign of harassment’ at the hands of Affan Burki, a former British Army Officer who tried to set up the school.

The paper reported that nearly all of the school’s governors were Muslim, despite the intake being aimed at an even split between white and Asian pupils.

Mr Hodge, a former pilot who was principal designate of the project, claimed there was a row over the dress code set for women staff at the school.

It comes after Trish O'Donnell, head of Clarksfield Primary School in Oldham, claimed she has received death threats

It comes after Trish O’Donnell, head of Clarksfield Primary School in Oldham, claimed she has received death threats

He said another man connected with the school ‘went completely off on one about how not wearing a hijab would effectively turn all Muslim women into whores’.

Mr Burki vehemently denied any bullying of Mr Hodge and said the claims about the hijab row were invented.

He told MailOnline: ‘I am a retired British Army officer. I have served in Afghanistan and fought against these people who would harm us.

‘This was the opposition of a Trojan Horse school. We were trying to install British values into pupils.’

He said ‘Walter Mitty figure’ Mr Hodge left after the school after it failed to obtain a reference from his previous place of work.

The row comes a week after Trish O’Donnell, head of Clarksfield Primary School in Oldham, said she received death threats and ‘harassment and intimidation’ from Muslim parents pushing an ultra-conservative religious agenda.

Oldham Council said it had investigated the claims made in December but concluded it had ‘no concerns’ about any schools.

The Trojan Horse plot refers to an organised attempt to introduce an Islamist ethos into several state schools in Birmingham three years ago. 

The name comes from a leaked letter in March 2014, alleged to be written by hardline Muslims, detailing how to get control of schools and speculating about expanding the tactics to other cities. 

 

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