U.K. announces pursuit of ‘voluntary code of practice’;-
A WND Exclusive by Bob Unruh-
The British government apparently is dropping a long-held plan to inspect Sunday Schools and other educational organizations in favor of a “voluntary code of practice” to protect children from “extremism.”
The mandatory inspections by the U.K.’s Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills, or OFSTED, aim to enforce uniform support for “British values” in all teaching scenarios.
However, those values include a pro-homosexual and pro-Muslim agenda. Schools that don’t teach a favorable view of lesbianism, for example, or Christian schools that don’t invite Muslim imams as guest speakers, are failing to teach “British values.”
Amid significant opposition, the government said it has 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.”
The U.K.’s Department for Education now says only a “small minority of settings” likely need government oversight.;
It will, however, work with local authorities “to demonstrate the benefits of multi-agency working, and share best practice on different ways of working together.”
And it plans “a voluntary code of practice … to set out clear standards for providers, explaining what they need to do in order to run a safe setting.”
The non-profit Christian Institute, which had opposed the proposal, said “churches will not be inspected as part of government attempts to counter extremism.”
The monitoring effort was largely a response to the influence of the growing Muslim immigrant population on public education.
The plan, the institute said, had been to inspect any entity where instruction was provided to children for six hours a week or more. The government, facing opposition, called for comments from the public.
“Some 18,000 people responded to the call for evidence in total, expressing doubts about OFSTED’s ability to inspect settings such as churches and questioning the vague ‘British values’ definition,” the institute said.
“According to the official consultation report, 75 percent of those who responded using the government’s questionnaire said OFSTED should not be able to investigate out-of-school settings,” the report said.
“Respondents who disagreed with this question expressed concerns about OFSTED’s capacity, expertise and neutrality in dealing with such settings,” it said.
A major concern was that the government would end up regulating religious teaching, without need, since “existing laws are already in place to tackle issues raised in the call for evidence.”
In 2016, the Christian Institute, CARE, Christian Concern, the Evangelical Alliance and Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship called for the government to scrap its controversial out-of-school settings proposals.
Institute Director Colin Hart said then: “Christians are justifiably alarmed at the prospect of OFSTED conducting ‘British values’ inspections of church youth work. The freedom to proclaim the Gospel, and indeed our wider civil liberties, must be protected, not undermined in the name of ‘counter-extremism’.”
The government repeatedly had expressed concern over the “unregulated” teaching going on at “out-of-school” settings.
In the public comments, three of four residents didn’t even agree with the government that a child attending events from six to eight hours per week qualifies as “intensive education.”
The same percentage opposed demands that “out-of-school” educational entities register with the government.
Members of the public also criticized the government for vague definitions of “fundamental British values,” expressing concern they could be twisted to prohibit mainstream religious teachings.
The report noted there already are many rules and regulations in place to protect children, and improvements always are possible.;