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UK Scraps Plan to Monitor Sunday Schools

In a move hailed by Christians in the UK, the government has abandoned its plans to register and monitor Sunday schools as part of its counter terrorism efforts, reports Evangelical Focus.

The Evangelical Alliance United Kingdom (EAUK) issued a statement welcoming the government’s decision to scrap proposals that require the registration of settings that teach for more than six to eight hours a week. The EAUK said it is an important step in protecting religious freedom in the country.

UK’s Department of Education issued a call for evidence two years ago asking organizations, education providers and local authorities their opinions on giving Ofsted (Office of Standards in Education) additional powers to investigate out-of-school settings, including Sunday schools.

According to The Christian Institute, about 18,000 people responded to the call for evidence and 75% of the responses disagreed with the proposal.

“Respondents who disagreed with this question expressed concerns about Ofsted’s capacity, expertise and neutrality in dealing with such settings,” according to the official consultation report.

Dr. David Landrum, director of advocacy at the Evangelical Alliance, lauded the strong response from faith groups and parents on the proposal.

Many of the respondents feared that monitoring Sunday schools will inadvertently be used to regulate religious teachings.

“We pointed out the unintended consequences of the initial proposals for civil society, such as many church activities like Sunday schools and youth groups being subjected to government regulation and inspection,” said the EAUK which represents two million evangelical Christians in the UK.

Dr. David Landrum, director of advocacy at the Evangelical Alliance, lauded the strong response from faith groups and parents on the proposal.

“These proposals would have had a profound effect on religious freedom and fundamental human rights, and consequently we welcome the news that the Government are listening to the concerns of those who responded,” he said.

Dr. Landrum vowed to work with the government to fight “radicalization and violent extremism” in the country. He added that, “Christianity has been an incredible force for good throughout British society, and it still is today.”

Sources:
Evangelical Focus
The Christian Institute

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