Laura Sharman 12 April 2019

Thousands of children being taught in illegal schools

Thousands of children being taught in illegal schools image

Up to 6,000 children are being educated in illegal schools across England putting their safety and education at risk, a watchdog has warned.

Figures published by Ofsted have revealed that unregistered schools that have no formal external oversight of safeguarding, quality of education or health and safety are a ‘huge’ nationwide problem .

The data shows a quarter of these schools are in London, with ‘alternative provision’ being the most common type of setting. A fifth of the settings are religious instruction, while a quarter are general education providers.

Ofsted have issued 71 of those settings with a warning notice, resulting in 15 closing and 39 changing the way they operate to comply with the law.

Ofsted’s deputy director, Victor Shafiee, said: ‘These settings deny children a proper education and can leave them at risk of harm.

‘The problem here is first and foremost about safeguarding. Many of these places are unsafe – with poor facilities and hygiene, badly trained or untrained staff, who may not have had any employment checks made on them, and little care for children’s health and well-being.’

Ofsted is calling for extra powers to allow inspectors to collect evidence they find in unregistered schools.

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This issue also contains a special focus on children's services and how councils are protecting children following local safeguarding children boards being abolished.

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