State schools under threat from legislation

“We need a better definition for school”, said Amanda Spielman.

Having watched this morning’s Victoria Derbyshire program it came to light that a school, which was warned by Ofsted twice, and asked to close, cannot be closed by force because legislation is not in place to do so because the school is not officially a school.

Ofsted’s leader, Amanda Spielman said that a school had been warned against operating but that pupils cannot be stopped from attending.

Transcript of Victoria Derbyshire program: (This is not a full transcript, there are gaps)

Ambassador’s High School in South London, a private school, was found to be operating illegally because it wasn’t registered with the government was only the second school to ever be prosecuted. Nadia Ali from South London who runs it was also to be found by Ofsted to be wilfully neglecting the children. Despite the prosecution, neither Ofsted, the local authority nor the court had the power to close it down.

Ofsted estimates that currently as much as 6.000 children are currently being educated in illegal, unregistered schools.

The prosecution was last month but Nadia Ali refuses to close the school. She was sentenced to Community Service last month but the court could not order the school to close, neither could Ofsted or the local authority.

The school caters for 4 – 14 year olds has twice applied to be government registered and twice it has been rejected by Ofsted for not meeting the Independent Schools standards.

In February this year Ofsted found there was no plan in place to actively promote British values. 6 out of 11 teachers had not been DBS or criminal record checked. There was no capacity for improvement at the school.

Last year inspectors found books that encouraged parents to hit their children, if they don’t pray; they also found books that said that a wife does not have the right to deny her husband. (Apparently children did not have access to the books).

End of transcript.

Victoria Derbyshire program provided evidence that this school in fact operates for 21 hours per week, to the amazement of the head teacher, who pretended not to know, rules make is statutory that educational establishments cannot operate for more than 18 hours without having to apply for school status.

Fact is that if people can open pop-up schools and defy Ofsted orders to stop operating and keep on teaching children anyhow, how can state schools, which depend on per-pupil funding exist?

State schools rely on permanent pupil attendance, a steady flow of pupils and long-tertm planning but pop-up schools can operate at hoc, charge parents money for sending kids and that makes the necessity for state schools unimportant.

It makes the running of state schools a high-risk endeavour if pop-up schools can emerge whenever and wherever they want because they drain the supply of pupils to state schools.

Schools like Raine’s Foundation, a Church of England school, which complies fully with all legal requirements, has a brand new building, are having to close because they cannot attract enough pupils. Raine’s are located in Tower Hamlets, an area with a high number of Muslim residents.

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