Lord Nash, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System in the United Kingdom, said Friday that the government’s plan to force registration and inspection of Sunday School and other out-of-school events drew 18,000 responses.
Lord Nash said the government is “determined to regulate in this area” but needs to “tread carefully because many of these organizations are small, open for only a few hours a week and staffed by volunteers.”
The out-of-school settings plan allows schools’ regulator Ofsted the legal power to inspect and to investigate any setting in England that gives instruction to children for more than six to eight hours a week. This would include Sunday Schools and other secular activities, such as music lessons and other groups.
But Christian leaders are worried it gives the British government too much control over what’s being taught.
“Giving Ofsted a say in what’s taught in churches is a profoundly offensive idea,” said Simon Calvert, deputy director for public affairs for The Christian Institute.
“Why in the world would you target church youth groups as part of any counter terrorism strategy? I mean, none of the 7/7 bombers were radicalized in Sunday schools.
“It’s a dangerous distraction for the counter terrorism service to be looking at what’s going on in Sunday schools.”
In pushing the new law, some British leaders are particularly worried religious groups are teaching children intolerance.
“If you are teaching intolerance, we will shut you down,” former Prime Minister David Cameron said when he announced the plan.
Publication date: January 13, 2017