Thank you for contacting me regarding unregistered or illegal schools.
I understand that the Department for Education is taking firm action to deal with unregistered schools to ensure that settings are closed or shut down completely where necessary. I am aware that Ofsted has a dedicated unregistered schools team that investigates and inspects suspected illegal schools. An inspector issues a warning notice at the end of an inspection if she or he believes the setting is operating illegally as a school. I have been informed that between 1 January 2016 and 31 March 2021, 494 inspections of suspected illegal schools took place, of this 166 warning notices were issued and 91 settings were closed completely.
The Department has made it clear that it is important that children and young people are on a school roll, or alternatively being electively home educated because they can be exposed to certain risks if they are not being educated in either of those settings. As such, I have been informed that the Department is looking at whether Ofsted needs additional powers when looking into potential illegal settings.
I can assure you that the Department is committed to ensuring that all children receive an excellent education, in a safe and risk free environment.