6000 Pupils Could Be “Robbed Of Their Life Chances” In Illegal Schools

12 April 2019, 08:20

Exposed wiring and open sewers were found during inspections of illegal schools
Exposed wiring and open sewers were found during inspections of illegal schools. Picture: PA

The education watchdog has called for tougher rules on tackling illegal "schools" after revealing today they have investigated more than 530 since 2016.

Officials have said some children are being taught in buildings with open sewers, exposed electrical work and holes in walls and floors. Ofsted found the quality of education at more than 200 settings was sub-standard, with one letting pupils play computer games all day.

Ofsted’s Victor Shafiee. said the most vulnerable children often were being by the least capable adults and as a result were “robbed of their life chances”. Some parents were found to be paying money for their child to be educated in an illegal or unregistered school.

Inspectors claimed that more than 6,000 children are being taught in unregulated schools.

Ofsted launched a crackdown on unregistered and illegal schools in 2016 and has so far investigated around 500 cases inspecting more than 250 sites and issued 71 warning notices to providers it believed were operating illegally.

It is a criminal offence to operate an unregistered independent school in England. Ofsted says an unregistered school is defined as a setting that is operating as an independent school, without registration.

"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," are some of the problems said Victor Shafiee.

Children attending the illegal schools are at risk because there is no formal external oversight of safeguarding, health and safety or the quality of education provided.

“We need to make sure children are safe and receiving a good education that prepares them for life in modern Britain. Ofsted will continue to do everything we can to investigate and inspect unregistered schools, and where necessary we will seek to prosecute those running them.”

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