UK Scraps Proposal to Regulate Sunday Schools And Other Religious Education Institutions

The United Kingdom government is no longer considering a plan to monitor church Sunday schools and other religious education institutions through its Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills.

This month, the Department for Education released the results of its call for evidence for plans to implement certain regulations for “out-of-school education settings” to safeguard children from the risk of extremism.

The call for evidence was active from November 2015 to January 2016 and sought responses to key proposals that included forcing Sunday Schools and other out-of-school education settings that operate six to eight hours a week to, among other things, allow a “body to inspect settings to ensure that children are being properly safeguarded.”

Additionally, the proposal would have subjected religious organizations that run those institutions to “sanctions” when “settings are failing to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, which could include barring individuals from working with children and the closure of premises.”

“[W]e have decided not to pursue the model proposed in our call for evidence but instead intend to develop further the evidence base for a national approach, including future legislation where gaps in existing powers are identified,” a government report states.

The decision was praised by religious organizations as an “important step to protect religious freedom.”

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Source: Christian Post