Stop parents removing children from RE, headteachers say


Members of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) have said parents should be stripped of the right to take their children out of religious education lessons to reduce the risk of them being radicalised.

School leaders at this years' NAHT conference have voted in favour of making RE compulsory in schools amid fears that those not taking part could be vulnerable to being groomed by extremists. The NAHT will now lobby to revoke the existing legal framework which allows families to withdraw children.

However, the resolution is likely to prove controversial with some parents' groups saying that schools should not undermine the wishes of families.

Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, head of a Birmingham school which was embroiled in the 'Trojan Horse' scandal, said it was crucial for pupils to learn about other faiths because groomers and radicalisers 'exploit the us-and-them syndrome'.

Hilary Alcock, head teacher of Buntingsdale Primary School and Nursery in Shropshire, said: "Parents may know their children best, but they may not always know what is best for them.

"What is best for them as they grow up in modern Britain may be outside of their own experience and their child's primary socialisation."

The motion by the NAHT comes after the government launched a drive to teach 'British Values' in schools, including tolerance of other faiths, in a bid to clamp down on classroom radicalisation.

Schools that cannot demonstrate they are helping children to understand diversity have been marked down by schools regulator Ofsted.