5th December 2018
Daily summary of the latest news and opinions from the world of independent education brought to you by Education Advisers...
Ofsted calls for greater powers to close down illegal schools as suspected cases reach nearly 500
Ofsted needs greater powers to help close down illegal schools or to prosecute those who run them, the chief inspector of the education watchdog has said.
Amanda Spielman has warned that the organisation is trying crack down on suspected unregistered schools with “one arm tied behind” its back.
Her calls for government legislation to be “strengthened” comes as new figures show the number of unregistered settings investigated by Ofsted has nearly reached 500.
“Many of these places are unsafe and without proper oversight we have no way of knowing if children are being exposed to abuse, or to radical and extreme views,” Ms Spielman warned.
The Ofsted report also highlights that some of the sites are operated by those with “fundamentalist religious beliefs” – which it says puts children at risk of radicalisation.
It warned: “Many institutions have learnt how to operate on the cusp of the law by exploiting loopholes in definitions of education.
“This is despite some settings, particularly faith settings such as yeshivas and madrasas, providing religious instruction for five and sometimes six days a week, from early in the morning to late into the evening.
“In these cases, it is perverse that the narrower the curriculum provision, the safer such a setting is from prosecution.”
‘An education arms race’: inside the ultra-competitive world of private tutoring
A growing number of parents and guardians are paying for children as young as four to receive additional tuition.
Some parents buy extra tuition to support children with special educational needs such as dyslexia, which mainstream schools are increasingly unable to meet. The new, tougher GCSE exams are also a factor, with some parents hiring private tutors to help children who are struggling to secure the level 4 or above required in English and maths.
The Sutton Trust, a charity that seeks to improve social mobility through education, has documented a huge rise in private tuition in recent years. Its annual survey of secondary students in England and Wales revealed in July that 27% have had home or private tuition, a figure that rises to 41% in London.
“We are in an education arms race,” says Peter Lampl, the founder of the trust. “Parents are looking to get an edge for their kids and having private tuition gives them that edge. “Tutoring is huge, it’s getting bigger and it’s not going away,” added Lampl. “You can’t stop people from doing it. What we’ve got to do is make it more accessible for parents who currently can’t afford it.”
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