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Children: Protection

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL4206, tabled on 18 November 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of any potential child protection issues as a result of primary school age children being put in unregistered schools.

Answered on

23 November 2021

The Department for Education regulates independent schools in England. Independent schools must be registered with the department, are required to meet the independent school standards (ISS), are subject to regular inspection to check that they are meeting the ISS and can be subject to regulatory and enforcement action where they fail to meet the ISS. The ISS require independent schools to have effective safeguarding and child protection arrangements.

Unregistered independent schools are unregulated and the department has no assurance that they are meeting the independent school standards. They therefore represent a significant safeguarding risk.

Conducting an unregistered independent school is a criminal offence under section 96 of the Education and Skills Act 2008. The Department for Education, Ofsted and the Crown Prosecution Service work together to investigate suspected unregistered independent schools and, where appropriate, prosecute those found operating them in line with department’s policy statement. The policy statement, 'Prosecuting unregistered independent schools', is available here:

Where a suspected unregistered independent school is investigated and Ofsted find safeguarding, child protection or health and safety risks, other statutory authorities are informed to ensure they can also take appropriate action.