Private Education: Regulation

Department for Education written question – answered on 10th June 2020.

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Photo of Lord Jones of Cheltenham Lord Jones of Cheltenham Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government whey they suspended the Regulating Independent Educational Institutions consultation, rather than extending the timeframe for submissions; and what steps they are taking to ensure the (1) safety, and (2) education, of pupils who attend these institutions.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

It is an important principle that consultations take account of the groups being consulted and are conducted in a way that enables interested parties to express their view. We were concerned that completing the consultation while many stakeholders had their operation disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak may not fairly provide all stakeholders with an opportunity to respond as they would like, undermining the value of the consultation. The department therefore suspended the consultation before it was due to end. The department intends to reopen the consultation when stakeholders are less likely to be significantly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Responses received to date will be combined with responses received after the consultation reopens and fully reviewed after the consultation finally closes.

It is not yet appropriate to set a date for reopening the consultation as the situation in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak continues to change. Similarly, the consultation was not extended because it was not clear what date would be reasonable to conclude the consultation at this stage.

Ofsted continues to investigate potential illegal schools including consideration of new intelligence. Where appropriate, Ofsted have liaised with local authorities and other statutory bodies to consider whether there is appropriate action that should be taken, for example, to close settings where people are gathering illegally during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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