Government anti-terror laws mean I have to vet clergy sermons says top head

Even Church of England bishops have to be vetted for potentially extremist views, according to a top headmaster frustrated by 'stifling' health and safety rules.

Education SussexEastbourne College, whose head Tom Lawson said he had to vet clergy sermons.

Tom Lawson, head of Eastbourne college, said he had had to ask senior clergy including a bishop who preached at a confirmation service and Rev Stephen Grey, senior chaplain at Eton, for advance texts of their sermons.

Lawson said the measures were necessary to comply with the government's anti-terror legislation.

According to the Daily Mail, he said the new Prevent strategies aimed at combating the spread of Islamist extremism were drowning schools in paperwork. He said he had been forced to check texts from Christian clergy because inspectors required schools to demonstrate that visiting speakers were suitable.

Critics of the Prevent strategy say it alienates Muslim communities, restricts freedom of expression and impacts human rights.

A UN special rapporteur said it risked 'dividing, stigmatising and alienating segments of the population'.

Lawson also hit out at red tape that he said prevented pupils visiting the elderly in their homes and said health and safety legislation meant schools were becoming increasingly risk-averse. 'The hypocrisy of the adult world is that we exhort and applaud young people who push beyond their comfort zone, but then as schools eschew every risk. Healthy pupils who enjoy outdoor activities every day will be successful academically and, more importantly, be able to prevent anxiety and stress,' he said.

Lifestyle