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Out-of-school Education

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL1831, tabled on 24 February 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what powers they intend to give Ofsted to support inspectors to (1) investigate, (2) prosecute, and (3) close, unregistered schools.

Answered on

6 March 2020

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, remains committed to legislate in order to strengthen Ofsted’s powers in relation to its investigation of unregistered independent schools. We are working closely with Ofsted to clarify what those enhanced powers will look like so that anyone found to be running an illegal school complies with the law or is prosecuted and that these settings close.

On 14 February, we announced that we would be increasing our funding to Ofsted to build upon and expand its work in tackling and investigating unregistered independent schools successfully and preparing cases for prosecution. In 2016, we established a joint team with Ofsted to tackle unregistered schools. Between 1 January 2016 and 31 August 2019, Ofsted has undertaken 362 inspections of 293 suspected unregistered independent schools – 83 settings were issued with a warning notice and Ofsted made sure 72 of these stopped operating illegally. There have also been three successful prosecutions.

We have recently issued two section 128 barring directions to individuals convicted of operating an unregistered independent school and will continue to pursue further barring directions where it is deemed appropriate.