Government announce that ‘extremist’ groups will be prevented from running state schools

July 30, 2010

The Accord Coalition has cautiously welcomed a commitment from Rt Hon Michael Gove MP that the government will not let ‘extremist’ groups run state funded schools.

Speaking at a hearing of the House of Commons Education Select Committee on Wednesday (July 28th) the Secretary of State for Education told MPs that ‘I and officials have been working to ensure that the regulations that govern faith-based education are such that we don’t have groups with an extremist, a fundamentalist or a narrow agenda taking schools over’.

Chair of the Accord Coalition, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain said ’we naturally welcome the assurance from the Sectary of State, but it still remains to be seen if and how these words will be translated into proper action. We will wait with interest to see what the Government propose.

‘However, if they are genuinely committed to preventing schools pursuing a narrow agenda, then there is much they need to look at in existing state funded schools, such as ensure that all schools teach a broad and balanced RE syllabus, provide assemblies that focus on shared values and admit pupils regardless of their or their families religion or beliefs.

‘Currently many schools do not teach about the broad range of beliefs and values in society, but can teach that only a particular life stance is the true one, without exposing their pupils to different perspectives. This denies children the broad and balanced education that they should be entitled to, and helps create an insulated environment where extreme view perspectives can grow’.

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