Last reviewed 13 June 2022

The Government has published its response to a consultation which was launched on 14 February 2020 but then suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic before finally concluding on 27 November 2020.

It sought comments on a number of related proposals for legislation which would affect independent schools and also some education settings which are neither state-funded nor currently registered with the department as independent schools, although they are attended full-time by children of compulsory school age.

This includes some settings serving some faith groups as well as a large number of other settings. These proposals aim to help ensure that requirements are consistent for all settings that children of compulsory school age attend full-time during the school day (which prevents them securing an education elsewhere).

A summary of the 532 responses received, which show broad support for all three proposals, can be found here.

Future action by the Department for Education

Following consideration of responses to this consultation, the DfE intends to take forward the following proposals “when a suitable legislative opportunity arises”.

  • Expanding on the categories of full-time institutions that will be regulated in the same way that independent schools are currently regulated and defining what is “full-time” based on the factors currently included in the department’s registration guidance.

  • Changing the basis for how some appeals against de-registration enforcement action, under the Education and Skills Act 2008, are to be determined by the court. In particular, requiring appeals against some de-registration decisions to be heard on a judicial review basis only, where a school has failed to meet the standards at three consecutive inspections within a six-year period, having been required to provide an action plan after the first two inspections and allowed to make representations before an enforcement decision is made after the third.

  • Revision of the system for making changes to the registered details of independent educational institutions, including creating more flexibility to approve and reject material changes under certain circumstances where approval or rejection is beneficial to the education and wellbeing of persons attending or likely to attend the institution, and the independent educational institution standards are likely to be met in the future.