As humanists are going to courts to force schools to teach atheism, Britain’s Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said schools are allowed to give priority to the views of established religions over atheism, and must teach pupils that Britain is a Christian country. Amid Britain’s debate on multiculturalism, the number of home educated children is also rising.
This comes after a high court, petitioned by the British Humanist Association, ruled last month that the U.K. government had unlawfully excluded non-religious views from the curriculum, saying that the content of the religious studies program could not fulfil all of a school’s religious education obligations.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, in his Christmas message, stressed that Britain is a Christian country.
“As a Christian country, we must remember what His birth represents: peace, mercy, goodwill and, above all, hope,” he said. “I believe that we should also reflect on the fact that it is because of these important religious roots and Christian values that Britain has been such a successful home to people of all faiths and none.”
Meanwhile, the number of home educated children has surged by 65 percent over the past six years, according to figures obtained by BBC using Freedom of Information requests, according to The Telegraph.
The figures show that there are 36,609 home educated children in 190 local authorities, and one of the main reasons cited by parents for taking their child out of school was “a difference of philosophy or lifestyle,” which accounted for 13.4 percent of withdrawals from mainstream education.
The government is reportedly planning a crackdown on home schooling due to concerns that radical Islamists might use home education to indoctrinate their children’s minds.