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Keeping Children Safe - Unregistered Schools

An unregistered school is a school that is independent from Local Authority control and meets the criteria below for registration, but has not done so.

The criteria are:

  • Teaches a full-time education to five or more children aged between 5-16 years old
  • Teaches a full-time education to any number of children where at least one of the children is in care or has special educational needs or an education, health and care plan.

Generally, the DfE consider any institution that is operating during the day, for more than 18 hours per week, to be providing full-time education and thus should be registered as a school.

Unregistered schools are not necessarily out-of-school settings that supplement the education children receive in school (supplementary schools) or part of home education arrangements, where parents access part-time tuition centres.

Tuition centres, or other educational establishments which do not provide full time education to children or young people are not classed as schools and do not need to register with the Department for Education (Dfe). Educational establishments which do not need to register as schools because they are not providing full time education are unregulated.

What are the risks to my child?

Opening and running an unregistered school is a criminal offence. Sending your child to an unregistered school may put you child at risk of harm, deny them a suitable education and limit their life chances.

It is important parents check the credentials of the person/s running any out-of-school provision, including whether staff are suitably qualified and safe to teach or tutor children by holding the necessary DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) check certificate. It is also important that the place where your child is taught complies with official health and safety regulations.

Who can check whether a school is registered or not?

If you have reason to believe that a school is unregistered you should report it to the Local Authority who may ask Ofsted to investigate further.

Ofsted, the schools’ regulator, has established a team of inspectors to investigate unregistered schools to ensure children are receiving a suitable education and learning in safe environments.

Inspectors will work to establish whether:

  • Overnight accommodation is provided for any child on the school site
  • Children's welfare is properly safeguarded and promoted
  • Children are receiving a suitable education

What can you do?

Anyone can check the list of registered schools in England by conducting a search of the Ofsted website by clicking here.

If you have concerns, you can contact Ofsted direct on 0300 123 1231 or online by clicking here.

In an emergency, please dial 999 for police, fire or ambulance. Alternatively, you can call the police on the non emergency number 101.

What can we do?

Local authorities play a key role in keeping children safe in education under safeguarding legislation and health and safety law. You can contact Wandsworths Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 020 8871 6622 (9-5pm Monday to Friday) or 020 8871 6000 out of hours.

Further information can be found in the leaflet, under the downloads section.

Who to contact

Contact Name
Wandsworth Safeguarding Childrens Board

Last updated: 29 Oct 2019