Government and Ofsted to act on home education ‘radicalisation’ fears

Government officials will work with Ofsted to tackle the ‘exploitation’ of home education amid fears children are being ‘radicalised’ by their parents.

The Department for Education (DfE) has confirmed it is working with the watchdog to address its “concerns” over home-schooled children after the Independent on Sunday reported that officials were worried about some parents “filling their children’s mind with poison”.

It comes after the prime minister launched a clampdown on illegal religious schools, and after Ofsted identified three cases in Birmingham where pupils were taught a “narrow Islamic-focused curriculum” and had access to “misogynistic, homophobic and anti-Semitic material”.

It also follows a Schools Week report that Neil Carmichael, chair of the House of Commons education committee, called for parents who home-educate their children to be forced to register with councils during a fringe event at the Conservative Party’s annual conference.

Ofsted has been handed extra resources to identify and prosecute the operators of illegal schools, and a senior government source told the Independent on Sunday that for every parent “doing a brilliant job” when it came to home education, there may be someone “filling their child’s mind with poison”.

The source, who admitted the government did not have “reliable figures” to back up its claim, said: “There has always been the freedom in this country for people to educate their children at home.

“Many people do it very well. But we need to know where the children are and to be certain that they are safe.”

A DfE spokesperson said the government was “determined to tackle radicalisation wherever it occurs”, adding that Ofsted had been provided with extra inspectors to “eradicate extremism in education”.

She said: “We are working with them to address their concerns about home education being exploited, while safeguarding the rights of parents to determine how and where to educate their children.”

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  1. Jane Doe

    Where a child is educated will not stop radical parents filling their child’s mind with their own beliefs. This is nothing more than a transparent play on public fears to push through another infringement on our rights. Home educated children are not invisible. They have birth certificates and GP’s, LA’s always seem to know where they are to send school enrolment letters to.

  2. This article contains a dangerous mixture of fact, assertion, surmise and innuendo. Officials being “worried” does not constitute a problem. Officials saying they don’t know about something does not constitute a problem. An official saying parents “may be” filling minds with poison is an unprofessional and alarmist jump onto a bandwagon. By reporting it uncritically the article condones the conclusion that officials thinking there might be a problem equates to a problem existing.

  3. This article reports government officials’ “concern” about two things, religious schools and home education. The way it reports these two things seems to confuse the two, by interweaving paragraphs about religious schools with paragraphs about home education in a bizarre series of non-sequiturs.

  4. Jenni Clair

    I think the government needs to stop scare-mongering!! Yes, there may be a very small minority of families abusing home education but there will be as many cases, if not more, of children in school being ‘radicalised’. The government needs to improve schools, then maybe they won’t have such a growing number of families choosing to home educate. If the schools were effective in providing high quality education, without all the nonsense that is shoved in alongside, to the detriment of both education and the mental and emotional well-being of children, parents wouldn’t be de-registering their children! Focus on the REAL problems, instead of looking for problems that don’t exist. This is just another attempt to draw attention away from the abject failure of our school system. Don’t blame home education for the problems this country faces, home educated children are the ones who are getting good degrees and will one day be sorting out the mess made by a succession of incompetent politician, who are just trying to make a name for themselves. If M’s Morgan wants to be remembered as an idiot, she’s going the right way about it!!

    • Perhaps Ms Morgan and Mr Carmichael, neither of whom has agreed to meet with any home educator when asked to in recent months, might like to discuss this matter with my home educated child?

      I know that he could talk far more sense than either of them has so far and that he will refer to facts not faerie tales. He is equally well qualified as both to comment holding as he does, level 7 qualifications at age 15.

      Let’s get a home educated youngster in to dispel the myths.

  5. Two issues are being confused here,home education & illegal religious schools. If illegal schools are being used then shut them down. Do not tar home education with the same brush. The home ed community is open, welcoming and about as diverse of a community as you will find anywhere.