The Department for Education is asking for views on “out of school education settings.” (“Settings” do not include elective home education) There is no mention of madrassas or mosque schools in the DFE document but this has been the focus in media reports eg here
“Any setting meeting the threshold would be required to register with their local authority and would be eligible for investigation, and if appropriate, intervention where concerns were reported.
Intensive education could be considered anything which entails an individual child attending a setting for more than between 6 to 8 hours a week, bearing in mind that this could be over an hour every day after school or on one or both days of the weekend.
Some children are also accessing part-time schools or tuition centres in place of mainstream school for between 2 to 5 hours a day during the week where they gain much of their education in mainstream curriculum subjects.
Local authorities would have access to information on registered settings operating in their area enabling them to collaborate with and better support providers by offering or signposting them to advice, guidance and training.
A number of local authorities have suggested this would also support them in fulfilling their legal duties around safeguarding children in their area, regardless of where they are being educated; children missing education; and ensuring that children are receiving a suitable education.
Recognising that this would create a new burden on providers, many of which may be small and run by volunteers, we would ensure the registration requirement would belight-touch where settings would provide basic details on the proprietors, location, education offer and numbers of children.
Any setting eligible for registration would fall within scope for concerns around prohibited activities to be investigated and acted upon by the relevant authorities.
We propose that Ofsted undertake the investigative function for out-of-school settings. Ofsted have much experience in inspecting and investigating in the education sector and they also register and inspect childcare providers.
We recognise the need to ensure Ofsted have the necessary legislative powers, as well as sufficient and appropriate resources, to carry out this role.
It is proposed that inspections are risk-based, with Ofsted either acting in response to specific concerns raised by children, parents and the community, or by sampling particular settings, whether by type or region.
Ofsted would not routinely inspect all providers which met the threshold for registration; nor would they be tasked with looking at the suitability of education or judging the quality of teaching.
This risk-based approach is targeted, proportionate and focuses on those settings which are failing to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
Based on the concerns that have been previously raised and reported about out of-school settings, the prohibited activities would be focused around the following areas designed to keep children safe and promote their welfare:
• Failure to adequately ensure the safety of the children in their care, for example, failing to maintain basic records and emergency contact details for the children in attendance.
• Appointing unsuitable staff. Teaching, if not supervised, falls within the definition of ‘regulated activity’
. For example, it is an offence to knowingly permit individuals who are barred from working with children to engage in regulated activity, or to work in regulated activity while barred.
• Accommodating children in premises that are unsafe and pose a threat to their safety or welfare.
• Undesirable teaching, for example teaching which undermines or is
incompatible with fundamental British values, or which promotes extremist views
• Corporal punishment. We propose to ensure that corporal punishment is not a practice adopted in out-of-school settings, regardless of the number of hours which children attend the setting.”
Deadline January 11th