The Trojan Horse Affair: how governance issues became a story about 'extremism'

the corrections

Research by Dr Reza Gholami features in a new series on BBC Radio 4. 'The Corrections', explores how a local education story become a national security issue, sparking a wave of Islamophobic coverage and comment. 

In 2014 an anonymous letter was sent to journalists detailing a 5 step plan to Islamise schools in Birmingham. The so-called Trojan Horse Affair sparked hundreds of articles and several investigations. But the letter was not all it seemed. The Corrections asks, what was going on behind the headlines?

Presenter Jo Fidgen speaks to key players, reporters and media watchers about how the coverage measured up to the reality. How did a local education story become a national security issue? And what dilemmas do journalists face when in receipt of an anonymous tip-off?

In a 3-part series, Jo explores how two incompatible narratives developed; how the controversial word ‘extremism’ entered the fray; and what the affair revealed about Britishness. Narrative consultant John Yorke is on hand to explain how storytelling techniques possibly influenced the direction the Trojan Horse story took, and why – in the end – we hear only the version that supports our tribe.

Part one was broadcast on 6 November 2020 and is available online for 12 months