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Schools: Registration

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL3784, tabled on 30 November 2017

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the (1) shortest, (2) longest, and (3) average, time taken to determine an application to register a school.

Answered on

14 December 2017

The department’s guidance advises applicants that the process of registering an independent school can take around six months. The department does not hold records of the time taken to determine an application to register an independent school for all historical cases. However, for schools where the department has made a final decision on registration in 2017, the shortest timeframe was 10 weeks, the longest was 143 weeks, and the median average was 23 weeks. Applications can only be taken forward once they contain all the required information and can only be approved if the independent school standards are likely to be met once the school opens.

By law, free schools (both ‘presumption’ free schools and central free schools) must also be named on the independent schools’ register before they can open. In order to be added to the independent schools’ register, the Secretary of State must decide whether or not the school is likely to meet the relevant independent schools’ standards once it is open. To enable the Secretary of State to make this decision, Ofsted carries out a “pre-registration inspection” two or three months before the opening date. Schools cannot legally open unless they are registered.