A TAUNTON educator has responded to claims that home schooling is a "breeding ground" for extremism.

Ofsted chief Matthew Coffey has warned government that it needs to crack down on home schooling, as he believes it can be used as a "loophole" for parents to place their children in unregistered settings.

The comments come after Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner Neil Basu warned that unregulated and home schooling in the UK was a "breeding ground" for extremism.

Mr Coffey said: "Elective home education is being used as a way of taking children out of mainstream education and putting them into to these unregistered settings.

"The intelligence that we have found says there is a bit of a loophole and people are using it.

"The Government needs to have a really long, serious, hard look at how it can close that loophole whilst maintaining everyone's right to educate children."

Caroline Ellis, of Taunton Home education, has responded to the claims, saying that you'd be "hard pressed" to find an unregulated school in Somerset peddling extremism.

"There's a vast difference between parents putting their kids into unregulated schools and parents home educating, " She said.

"I think you would be hard pressed to find an unregulated school in Somerset peddling extremism but there are powers to deal with such a scenario in any case.

"Certainly no one I know, and I know hundreds of home educating families, has any desire to go anywhere near some sort of dodgy unregulated school peddling extremism.

Ms Ellis says there are many reasons parents chose to home-educate, including wanting a more personalised education, to protect their child from bullying, and more flexible learning if their child has special needs.

A Department for Education spokesman said: "Parents have a right to teach their children at home but they must still get a safe and suitable education.

"Schools must inform local authorities if a pupil is taken off its register and councils, along with the police, have powers to intervene if children are at risk or not receiving a suitable education.

"We have established a team with Ofsted and given it additional resources to step up investigations into unregistered schools and work with us to take whatever action is required."