Plans for Ofsted to regulate out-of-school settings are “absurd” and the Government’s consultation must be extended, a Christian MP has told Parliament.
Last week, Fiona Bruce asked the Leader of the House of Commons to use his influence to extend the consultation, which is taking place over the Christmas period.
Following her appeal, Mrs Bruce said that “Christmas is the busiest period of the year for many Christians”, giving them less opportunity to respond.
She added: “The Government has not properly thought through these proposals, and needs to go back to the drawing board”.
“We have often seen that traditional Christian teachings can be wrongly sanctioned by local officials who are unfamiliar with Christianity, and that makes me very worried about what would happen if we start having Ofsted inspectors inside churches and observing beach missions looking for issues”.
The consultation was launched on 26 November and will end on 11 January.
Christian charity CARE supported Mrs Bruce in her request and described the proposals as “extremely unsettling”.
The Government has not properly thought through these proposals, and needs to go back to the drawing boardFiona Bruce MP
Nola Leach, CARE’s CEO, said: “The fact the consultation has been timed to run over the festive season has all the appearance of a deliberate attempt to ensure fewer Christians can actually respond”.
“This is completely unacceptable and Fiona Bruce is quite right to be calling on the government to think again”, she added.
Plans for schools’ regulator Ofsted to regulate out-of-school settings were announced on 26 November.
The Government wants to introduce a nationwide registration scheme for any out-of-school setting providing instruction to under 19-year-olds for more than six hours in any week.
This could include after-school clubs, summer camps and Sunday schools.