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Out-of-school Education

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL4991, tabled on 15 December 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what mechanisms they have to monitor the number of children at risk in unregistered religious settings.

Answered on

30 December 2021

Local authorities are legally responsible for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children in their areas, regardless of the educational setting they attend.

Where local authorities have safeguarding concerns, the department expects their services to intervene. There are a range of powers held by local agencies which can be utilised where concerns have been identified, for example, around health and safety, premises regulations and general safeguarding.

Where local authorities believe that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm, they have a legal duty to investigate where necessary.

The department consulted in 2020 on widening the registration requirement to settings that operate full time but only offer a very narrow curriculum, which would include a number of full-time religious settings that are currently allowed to operate without having to register. The department will respond to this consultation soon, setting out next steps.

The department has also committed to taking forward measures to make it easier to investigate and prosecute unregistered schools, working with Ofsted and the Crown Prosecution Service. The department intends to take forward these measures when a suitable legislative opportunity arises.