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Education chief: Time to regulate religious schools; MADRASAS AND CHRISTIAN SUNDAY CLASSES NEED MONITORING AFTER 'TROJAN HORSE'.

Byline: JAMES RODGER News Reporter james.rodger@trinitymirror.com

THE head of education at Birmingham City Council has claimed Christian Sunday schools and Muslim madrasas should be regulated.

Colin Diamond made the comments in the wake of the Trojan Horse scandal.

He has urged the British government to "grasp this stingy old nettle" and monitor them accordingly.

Calls have been made for government bodies to regulate education spaces outside of formal school settings.

Mr Diamond, the council's corporate director for children and young people, said: "Thousands of kids in this city will go to education spaces this evening and will be there for a few hours and will be taught about Koranic values or Christian values.

"We feel they should be regulated. These are classrooms by any other name.

"They are large groups of children. I do wish the Government " The Trojan Horse scandal began over a plot by hard-line Islamists to take over some Birmingham schools was revealed by the Birmingham Mail in March 2014.A leaked document claimed dirty tricks were being used to oust non-Muslim staff in an operation called Trojan Horse.

Four separate inquiries were launched into the allegations and other claims, including a Birmingham City Council and a Department of Education probe.

Ofsted also conducted inspections at 15 city schools.

But Mr Diamond said schools in the city had progressed considerably since then.

He said: "I think the biggest risks in terms of exposure to any form of non-mainstream societal values are either if you are at home, because you are not part of the social group, or if you are in an independent school that is at the margins of things, or if you are in the unregulated space which includes Sunday schools, madrassas, all these places where there is no regulation whatsoever."

Last month, an Islamic faith school's policy of completely segregating boys and girls from the age of nine was deemed unlawful sex discrimination by leading judges in a landmark ruling.

These are any other name. large groups do wish the would grasp old Colin Three Court of Appeal judges overturned a High Court finding that Ofsted inspectors were wrong to penalise the mixedsex Al-Hijrah school in Bordesley Green on the basis of an "erroneous" view that the segregation amounted to discrimination.

For religious reasons the voluntary-aided school, which has pupils aged between four and 16, believes that separation of the sexes from year five onwards is obligatory.

It has complete segregation from nine to 16 for all lessons, breaks, school clubs and trips, and Mr Diamond fears the decision could lead to more parents choosing to educate their children at home.

classrooms by They are of children. I government this stingy nettle.

Diamond He said: "As local authorities, we should have a right to see children who are educated at home - and I don't currently have that right.

"We think there should be a change of a law - and we are told it's under discussion [by the Department for Education]."

These are classrooms by any other name. They are large groups of children. I do wish the government would grasp this stingy old nettle. Colin Diamond

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Colin Diamond, head of education at Birmingham City Council

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Dec 1, 2017
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