According to a report in today’s Independent, the Department for Education has announced that new powers will be brought forward in the Counter Extremism Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech to enable intervention in “unregulated education settings which teach children intensively”.
The report quotes a spokesman for DfE as follows:
“Unregistered schools are illegal and unsafe – and we are taking unprecedented and direct action against them across the board to protect children, inform parents and support teachers. This includes strengthening our guidance to schools on safeguarding, and proposals to change regulations so that schools have a duty to inform local authorities in all circumstances where a pupil is removed from a school register. We have also announced an escalation of Ofsted investigations into unregistered schools, a new tougher approach to prosecuting them and a call to local authorities to help identify any setting of concern.”
There is currently no mention of this on the DfE website.
In January, we posted on Regulating out-of-school education and wondered if, in the light of the debate in Westminster Hall, the DfE might have softened its stance on the issue. In light of the new report in The Independent, however, whether or not the new powers will include the inspection of activities such as retreats and church holiday clubs for children remains to be seen.