Plan for faith schools code shelved

Published: Thursday 23rd October 2014 by The News Editor

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Plans for a code of conduct for faith schools working outside mainstream education have been shelved by the Government.

The voluntary code was recommended by the cross-government task force on tackling extremism and radicalisation at the end of last year, in order to prevent children being exposed to ”intolerant or extremist views” in religious ”supplementary schools” providing lessons outside mainstream education.

This could include evening classes, weekend schools and private tuition centres, among others.

The Department for Education (DfE) was expected to publish a draft version of the code before the end of the year but the Government has now decided that more can be done within existing regulations, BBC News online reported.

The plan has been shelved partly because putting it into place was proving too complex, the BBC said.

A DfE spokeswoman said: “The Extremism Task Force previously set out plans for a voluntary code of conduct for religious supplementary schools.

“The Government has been considering this carefully over recent months and we believe that there is more to be done within the existing regulatory framework.”

Earlier this year, in the wake of the alleged Trojan Horse plot by hardline Islamists to take over a number of Birmingham schools, a row between Home Secretary Theresa May and then Education Secretary Michael Gove erupted over the handling of extremism in schools.

In a letter to Mr Gove, Mrs May said concerns had been raised about the ”inability” of local and central government to tackle the problem following claims about the alleged ”Trojan horse” plot.

She also said that the Birmingham allegations showed the potential need for a mandatory code and urged Mr Gove to include that option in his consultation on the plans.

After an investigation into a bitter round of briefings and counter-briefings over the issue, Mrs May’s closest aide quit and Mr Gove was forced to apologise.

Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said: “Events in Birmingham and elsewhere have revealed that there is a dangerous lack of oversight of our school system. Yet David Cameron’s complete lack of action on this very serious issue is shocking.

“The public want to know that schools of all types that are educating our children are not open to infiltration by radical hard-liners. David Cameron’s Government is failing to provide the measures that are necessary.”

Published: Thursday 23rd October 2014 by The News Editor

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