The proposals contained in the Out-of-School Education Settings consultation are intended to look at places where children receive intensive education outside of school for more than six to eight hours a week. I am encouraged that there is no intention to regulate institutions teaching children for a short period every week, such as the many Sunday Schools in our area or the Scouts. Similarly the proposals will not apply to one-off residential activities, such as a week-long summer camp.
I believe that it is right to make sure that where there are concerns raised by parents and others about issues of extremism, child cruelty or inappropriate teaching in unregulated settings, action can be taken to protect children and empower parents.
I want children to be in a safe environment and somewhere which does not teach children hateful and extremist views that undermine British values. As you may know, views have been sought on the proposed changes that will mean institutions teaching children intensively will be required to register with Ofsted and may be subject to inspection.
I am encouraged that the Department for Education is working closely with the Church of England and other faith communities to ensure that the system is targeted, proportionate and focuses on those settings which are failing to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Those discussions have been productive, and Ministers have made clear the focus is on establishments that are preaching hatred or putting children at risk.
The Department for Education is clear that these proposals are not about regulating religion or restricting people's freedom to follow a particular faith or hold particular beliefs. Instead, it seeks to ensure those who work with children in positions of trust and influence are respectful of different beliefs and faiths. They should not, in expressing their individual beliefs, promote intolerance against others. The mutual respect and tolerance of others with difference faiths and beliefs in one of our fundamental British values, one which these proposals seek to uphold.
Ministers are now considering feedback received during the consultation period, and will publishing their response and setting out the next steps on the proposals in due course.