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100 school teachers face the sack in UK extremist probe
London, Apr 5, 2015, PTI: 14:15 IST
An estimated 100 teachers and teaching assistants in the UK are likely to be sacked from schools after an investigation into their alleged extremist Islamist views.
The UK's National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL), the teachers' watchdog which can ban teachers from classrooms, is working on possible disciplinary cases against current and former staff members at schools in Birmingham.
According to the 'The Sunday Times', the schools were the focus of the Trojan Horse scandal, which saw efforts by hardline Islamists to take control of state schools.
The NCTL is reportedly examining 30 cases with an expectation that many more will follow, as many as 100.
Allegations under investigation include claims that an al-Qaeda style video was copied at Park View Academy, one of the schools involved in the Trojan Horse affair, and that teachers punished children by making them kneel on tiles.
More than 50 staff members in schools across Birmingham also allegedly exchanged messages in a WhatsApp group which included homophobic remarks, offensive comments about British soldiers, claims that the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, southeast London, was a hoax, and discussion of segregating boys and girls.
Professional hearings are due to begin next month. A spokesman for the NCTL said: "We do not comment on cases that are ongoing."
The Department for Education (DfE) also refused to comment. News of the NCTL investigations comes as Tower Hamlets council in east London, from where several teenage girls have fled to join ISlamic State (IS) in Syria, issued new guidance to parents.
Tens of thousands of leaflets have been distributed, advising parents to "lock away" their children's passports if they fear the youngsters may be planning to travel to Syria over Easter.