A loophole in the law means physical punishment in part-time education institutions is currently lawful. In its current report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the UK Government accepted this was the position. The Government report notes that although corporal punishment is banned in all schools throughout the UK, “there are some unregistered independent settings, providing part-time education, that are not covered by this ban”. The Government’s report states: “However, work is underway to develop a code of practice which will send a clear message about the expected standards that all settings should meet, and to highlight that assault of children is unlawful in any setting”.
But despite evidence that children are routinely physically punished in some of the UK’s thousands of madrassas (supplementary Islamic schools) the Government has so far refused to reform the law to correct this anomaly and it is now understood that even their plan for a code of practice has been shelved.