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Out-of-school Education

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL3782, tabled on 30 November 2017

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they have taken to safeguard children in premises that have been confirmed by Ofsted as unregistered schools.

Answered on

14 December 2017

In January 2016, we announced funding for Ofsted to establish a dedicated team of specialist inspectors to identify and inspect those suspected of operating unlawfully and take action to bring them into compliance with the law, including closing the school, or working with the police and Crown Prosecution Service as necessary.

Local councils have overarching responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children and young people, and, together with local safeguarding children board partners, they should be assessing any risks to children wherever they are educated. Statutory guidance outlining the responsibilities of local councils is attached and can be accessed at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/children-missing-education.

The government has been working with Directors of Children’s Services on the issue of unregistered schools, and in collaboration with them and with Ofsted have drawn up guidance on joint working between Ofsted, the department and local councils on tackling unregistered schools. We intend to publish the guidance in the near future. Where an unregistered school is identified, Ofsted take steps to share this information with the department and the local council. The department supports councils to use their powers under safeguarding or health and safety legislation to disrupt and tackle unregistered independent schools. Local councils have a duty to investigate where they suspect that a child in their area is suffering, or likely to suffer, harm. Where unregistered independent schools are identified, it is likely to be in the children’s best interests, in terms of both education and safety, for them to move as quickly as possible into properly regulated schools.