Church youth work could face ‘British values’ investigations

Ofsted would be given powers to investigate non-school education settings such as church youth work under new Government proposals.

The Department for Education has launched a consultation on the subject, and The Christian Institute is urging its supporters to respond.

As well as church youth work, out-of-school settings such as music lessons, driving schools and first aid courses could all be caught by the plans.

Read more, and respond to the consultation

Law-abiding citizens

The plans are part of the Government’s effort to combat ‘extremism’, but The Christian Institute has said the proposals are aiming at the wrong targets.

Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, said: “Churches do not radicalise children. In fact Christians are most likely to be the victims of extremist actions around the world.

“We are law-abiding citizens who support democracy and are taught to love our neighbour.

“It’s only in countries like China that the state regulates churches’ teaching and activities.”

Church weekends

The Government envisages a nationwide registration scheme for any out-of-school setting providing instruction to under 19-year-olds for more than six hours in any week.

This would cover holiday Bible clubs, church weekends, summer camps and in some circumstances may cover youth clubs.

We are law-abiding citizens who support democracy and are taught to love our neighbour.Colin Hart

In its plans, the Government states: “We propose that Ofsted undertake the investigative function for out-of-school settings.”

Prohibited

The consultation paper says that “undesirable teaching” – such as that which “undermines or is incompatible with fundamental British values, or which promotes extremist views” – would be prohibited.

Sanctions would include banning people from working with children and closing premises in order to address “the harm caused by extremism”, including “emotional harm”.

The consultation paper also says the Government wants to “avoid imposing unnecessary burdens” on settings which are ‘positive’ for children’s education, but is seeking to take action against settings where children could be harmed by “extremism”.

Ofsted inspectors

At the beginning of the year, it emerged that primary-aged pupils at a Christian school had faced questions from Ofsted inspectors about homosexual practice, under ‘British values’ rules.

Parents objected to questions including if they knew what lesbians “did” and if their friends felt trapped in the “wrong body”.

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