UK authorities are currently investigating claims that roughly 50 unregulated schools have been set up by Islamists focusing on anti-British values.
The schools, which operate in the UK, have escaped inspection so far by running as private tuition centers rather than traditional schools. The schools only run a certain number of hours each week, and participating students, most of whom are from Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Somali families, are officially labeled as home-schooled. Most of the teaching done at these schools centers around the Islamic faith.
The traditional education system in the country is regulated by the UK’s Department for Education (DfE) and Ofsted, the schools’ watchdog.
Officials are afraid that participating students are at risk of being radicalized while at these centers.
One such school, the Siddeeq Academy in Tower Hamlets, was shut down in January after it was discovered to have been run by Mizanur Rahman, a convicted Islamist extremist. Rahman had previously stated that Taliban gunmen who killed 132 children at a school in Pakistan had been “unfairly demonised”.
Earlier, an anonymous Whitehall official said unregulated schools are led by people against “democracy, equality, and tolerance”.
“If you are a Salafi Muslim or an Islamist, that means you don’t believe in British values because they go against your ideologies and set of beliefs. The problem is anyone can set up one of these schools and there are no regulations for it and they can then go on to brainwash children,” the source was reported as saying.
Most of the schools were created by a teacher who was deeply involved in the Trojan Horse scandal, which found Islamic extremists trying to take over a number of state schools.
Former Education Secretary Michael Gove announced after the Trojan Horse scandal that all schools would be required to promote British values as a part of their curriculum, reports Javier Espinoza for The Telegraph.
It is a criminal offense to run an unregulated school in the country. All schools must be registered with the DfE. It remains up to local authorities to ensure that home schooled students in their areas are receiving a suitable education.
The DfE has set up a number of investigations recently as the number of unregulated schools continues to rise. Complaints have been mounting concerning the ease of setting these schools up and the lack of monitoring that ensures they are teaching British values.