To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the specific legislative provision that makes it an offence to operate an unregistered school; and what is the maximum penalty for doing so.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance they have given local authorities regarding whether the attendance of a child at an unregistered school would mean a child would be considered to be at risk.
Section 96 of the Education and Skills Act 2008 makes it an offence for any person to conduct an unregistered independent school. The maximum penalty for the offence is imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, a fine for which there is no maximum, or both.
The Government has been working with Directors of Children’s Services on the issue of unregistered schools and in collaboration with them, and with Ofsted, have drawn up guidance on joint working between Ofsted, the Department and local councils on tackling unregistered schools. We intend to publish the guidance before the end of the calendar year. Local councils have overarching responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children and young people, and, together with local safeguarding children board partners, they should be assessing any risks to children wherever they are educated. Local councils have a duty to investigate where they suspect that a child in their area is suffering, or likely to suffer harm. Where unregistered independent schools are identified, it is likely to be in the children’s best interests, in terms of both education and safety, for them to move as quickly as possible into properly regulated schools.