Any educational provider which offers a full-time education to 5 or more pupils of compulsory school age, or to 1 or more pupils of compulsory school age who are also looked after, or have an education, health and care plan, is required to register with the Department for Education. It is a criminal offence to conduct an independent school that is not registered. If convicted of this offence, a person could be subject to an unlimited fine, and/or imprisonment for up to 6 months.
Section 99 of the Education and Skills Act 2008 outlines that Ofsted must inspect all proposed new independent schools against the Independent Schools Standards, and make a report to my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, on the extent to which these standards are likely to be met following registration. The Secretary of State for Education must then decide, taking that report and any other evidence he has on the proposed school into account, whether the standards are likely to be met if it is to be registered as an independent school. If he is satisfied that the standards are likely to be met, he must register the school.
In practice, it is nearly always the case that where an inspection report shows that the standards are not likely to be met, the registration application is rejected. However, there are rare exceptions: for example, if remedial building work has been arranged, but has not yet been undertaken at the time of the inspection. In such cases, if the school is subsequently able to show that the work has been carried out successfully, so as to address all of the issues identified in the report, it is possible to register the school without the need for a further inspection.
Full guidance on registering an independent school is available through the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-school-registration.