Are ISIS-supporting parents indoctrinating their children through homeschooling?
Counter-terrorism and government experts have called for more stringent homeschooling laws. They have revealed that dozens of girls have been placed in court-appointed care after being identified as at risk of radicalization.
At a conference last week, Ofsted Chief Operating Officer Matthew Coffey warned that more than 30,000 children were classed as being educated at home in 2014-15, slipping under the radar as their parents were not obliged to alert local authorities.
“The intelligence that we have found that says there is a bit of a loophole and people are using it,” he told the Telegraph.
“The Government needs to have a really long serious hard look about how it can close that loophole whilst maintaining everyone’s right to go and educate children.
“Elective home education is being used as a way of taking children out of mainstream education and putting them into to these unregistered settings.”
Coffey said he is aware of one particular website – run by a community group – that gives a step-by-step guide for parents on how to withdraw their children from the mainstream school system without giving a reason.
“It is… shocking the intent that is behind the message,” he said.
“It is absolutely right, you can do this, you don’t have to comply with the local authority, you don’t have to tell anybody what you are doing.”
At the same conference, the UK’s head of counter-terrorism policing revealed that over 50 children, mostly girls, are currently being protected from extremism by the courts.
Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said the children have been taken into care as a part of counter-terrorism investigations.
According to the Times, the children were taken into care because their parents had traveled to join Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) or were stopped on their way to Syria.
In 2015, 32 children in London were the subject of family court orders amid radicalization fears.
At the conference, Rowley also revealed that seven terrorist plots have been foiled this year, and 460 counter-terrorism arrests have been made in the 12 months to September, 126 more than the year before.