Action is needed to prevent people with “extremist religious or political” views taking over academies, a board member of the country’s largest sponsor has warned. Geoffrey Davies, on the board of the United Learning Trust (ULT), which sponsors 17 academies, called for new rules that would stop an academy trust passing to groups “alien” to a school’s original ethos.
The news comes as schools minister Lord Hill said in a letter to the National Secular Society (NSS) that the Government will not legislate against proselytising in schools as more academies and free schools are established.
Lord Hill said in a letter to the NSS that he “did not think it appropriate” to legislate, as parents will choose a school based on its ethos. Lord Hill wrote: “That ethos may be Christian, Muslim or Jewish or it may have no faith ethos at all. Parents should be free to choose schools on the basis of their ethos.”
Terry Sanderson, president of the NSS, said: “We are alarmed at the prospect of extremist religious groups taking control of these schools and using them to brainwash children. What is to stop a Muslim group taking over a school and turning it into a madrassa at public expense if that is what parents want?”