Commenting on today's warning from OFSTED head Amanda Spielman that some UK schools are narrowing children's horizons in the name of religion, University of Warwick Department of Politics and International Studies Research Fellow Dr Ruth Wareham said:
"For far too long, the rights and interests of children have been treated as subordinate to those of their parents when it comes to issues of religious belief and practice in education.
"Spielman's speech demonstrates that OFSTED is beginning to take a more child-centred approach to these questions and this is to be welcomed.
"However, Spielman's use of the term "extremism" and her focus on the debate about whether young girls should be forced to discard their hijabs in school threatens to make this just another way in which to stigmatise the Muslim community.
"Indoctrination isn't a problem unique to Islamic schools or those with large numbers of Muslim pupils, it can happen in any school where pupils are compelled to adopt a particular religious world-view and are not allowed to develop the skills of critical thinking necessary to freely accept that view for themselves."
1 February 2018
Media Relations Manager