BBC slurs evangelicals in home school debate

Some evangelical parents need monitoring by the state because they may ‘intimidate’ their children with ideas about God, sin and hell, a BBC radio host has said.

Listen to the comments:

The Government’s Schools Minister replied by saying this is part of the reason for conducting a review of the rules on home education.

The comments were made on BBC Radio 4’s Sunday Programme, broadcast on 18 October.

The programme featured an item on the Government’s controversial proposals for regulating parents who choose to educate their children at home.

The show’s host, Roger Bolton, spoke of “authoritarian” evangelical fathers of “Victorian periods” who threatened their children with theology.

He was interviewing Schools Minister, Diana Johnson, and went on to say, “some people will worry that this is possible now under home tuition, that this could happen.”

He continued: “and you would not be able to do anything about it because people would just say, ‘we’re simply telling them what we believe'”.

The Schools Minister replied, “that’s part of the reason why we have asked Graham Badman to do this review because at the moment we don’t know what’s happening”.

She added that the Government wanted to make sure “there is a process once a year to find out what is happening in the home in terms of the education”.

The Government wants education officials to have the right to interview home-schooled children without their parents being present.

A public consultation on the plans ended on Monday.

Last month a court in America ordered a home-educated girl, aged 10, to attend a state-run school because her beliefs were deemed to be too Christian.

Her mother’s attorney said the court decided that the girl’s “religious beliefs are a bit too sincerely held” and need to be “mixed among other worldviews”.

In June a group of MPs said home-schooling families risk being hounded as the Government conducted its third review of the law in four years.

Mark Field MP said the Government should examine its own failure to deal with child abuse scandals before pointing its finger at home schoolers.

Earlier that month, the NSPCC had to apologise after a spokesman suggested that home education may be a cover for child abuse cases like that of Victoria Climbié.

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