In 2014, documents alleging a conspiracy to Islamise Birmingham schools were leaked to the media, sparking a national scandal. The papers were quickly debunked – but the story remained divisive. In this story for Guardian Long Read, published on 1 September 2017, I tried to answer the question: what really happened? I spent 18 months reporting this story, speaking to scores of people in Birmingham – from the men implicated in the so-called “plot”, to their former colleagues, accusers, and council workers – and found a much more complicated story than the tabloid narrative suggests. You can listen to an audio version of the story.