Government to Crack Down on Homeschooling over ‘Extremism’ Fears

Homeschooling
Karin Zeitvogel/AFP/Getty Images

The government is set to crack down on homeschooling amidst concerns that some out-of-school education settings are failing to promote its liberal definition of “British values”.

Parents who want to homeschool their children could be forced to register with local authorities and be made subject to inspection, according to a government report published Tuesday raising the prospect of prosecution for families which failed to comply.

Seeking views over the next 12 weeks with regards to strengthening regulation around homeschooling, the consultation was launched as part of the government’s “Counter-Extremism strategy to enable intervention in out of school settings”.

Under the proposed regulatory system, any family taking their child out of mainstream schooling in the UK would have to explain their decision and demonstrate that children were being given an appropriate education at home.

The government’s move to crack down on homeschooling comes after schools watchdog Ofsted described the fact that local authorities have no right to investigate whether children are being home-educated as a “loophole” which is exploited by Islamic extremists.

“The Government needs to have a really long serious hard look about how it can close that loophole,” Ofsted chief operating officer Matthew Coffey told The Telegraph, adding that the lack of a national database on children who are homeschooled is a “real source of frustration” for the schools regulator.

Along with issues such as unsafe premises and inappropriate forms of punishment, the report raised concern over the prospect that children would receive “inadequate preparation … for life in modern Britain” in out-of-school education settings.

Requirements that educators promote “British values” defined as “tolerance and respect for others”, and “prepare children for life in modern Britain” have caused some contention, with critics warning that the latter category is being used to penalise schools in rural areas which have been insufficiently ‘enriched’ with ethnic minority pupils.

Tens of Christian schools have been downgraded as a result of the new rules, which were conceived by neoliberal former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan who claimed such schools deny children “the opportunity to flourish in a modern multicultural Britain”.

Both requirements demand the promotion of LGBT lifestyles and that children be exposed to positive portrayals of homosexual relationships and transgender individuals from an early age, while Morgan has alleged that homophobic views are a sign of “radicalisation”.

Last year, a private Jewish school teaching girls up to the age of eight failed its third inspection for denying pupils “a full understanding of fundamental British values” by failing to teach about homosexuality and gender reassignment.

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