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Sunday schools 'should be monitored'
Teaching at Sunday schools should be monitored, the chief education officer at one of the country's largest councils has said.
Colin Diamond at Birmingham City Council claimed church lessons and other places of informal places of learning should be regulated in a similar way to formal schools, to manage children's exposure to "non-mainstream societal values".
Speaking with the Times Education Supplement, he said of Sunday schools and sessions run for children at mosques: "These are classrooms by any other name.
"They are large groups of children.
"I do wish the government would grasp this stingy old nettle."
Mr Diamond was appointment head of education at Birmingham Council in the wake of claims a small number of the city's schools were being influenced by extreme Islamist ideology.
The so-called Trojan horse affair in 2013 prompted Ofsted to implement new rules, which places greater emphasis on leadership, management and the promotion of British values in UK schools.
Mr Diamond said there should be a change in the law to ensure Sunday schools and madrassas are regulated, adding that he understands the Department for Education is considering the idea.
Mr Diamond added: "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."
In April 2016, Christian groups including the Evangelical Alliance said plans for Sunday schools to be forced to register with Ofsted and undergo inspections amounted to an "unjustified restriction of religious liberty".
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