Inspection of supplementary schools?

NRCSE’s response to David Cameron’s announcement regarding the inspection of supplementary schools teaching more than 6-8 hours per week.

NRCSE exists because of our belief that all children regardless of their race, nationality, religion, economic or immigration status should have access to safe and enjoyable activities that reflect their heritage and complement mainstream education.

As a provider of voluntary registration and quality assurance for the supplementary education sector, we would welcome a review of the regulations concerning registration of ‘any form of care for a child including education or any other supervised activity’.

It is presently the case that a wide range of activities are exempt from any form of compulsory registration for children aged three years and over.

These activities include:

  • Study support (including private tuition)
  • Sport
  • Performing arts
  • Arts and crafts
  • Religious, cultural or language study

For children aged three to five years these activities are exempt if they are provided for not more than four hours in any one day. For children over five there is no limit to the number of hours.

In the absence of any form of statutory regulation NRCSE works with supplementary schools, local authorities and charitable trusts to deliver a voluntary code of practice for supplementary education and a Quality Framework for Supplementary Schools.

To date 424 supplementary schools have voluntarily subscribed to and completed at least one level of the Quality Framework, this includes many faith-based supplementary schools. Many more would subscribe to the Quality Framework if local agencies encouraged and supported them to do so. In North London, for example, John Lyon’s Charity provides support to supplementary schools in eight London boroughs on condition that they complete the Quality Framework – 109 schools across those eight boroughs have completed at least one level since 2009. In Northampton, the Association for Northamptonshire Supplementary Schools, has encouraged and guided 16 supplementary schools to complete the Bronze Quality Framework Award.

Our experience and our members tell us that greater support to enable more providers of out-of-school-hours activities to improve the quality of their provision would be welcome.

It is difficult to envisage, however, how ‘forcing’ community organisations, largely run entirely by volunteers, to be regulated without providing for any form of support or guidance on what they should do in order to meet regulatory requirements could be implemented in a democratic country with a commitment to human rights.

We, therefore, recommend that all organisations offering out-of-school-hours provision, as well as individuals offering private tution on a commercial basis, be required to register with a statutory body. We also recommend that local authorities be mandated to provide access to advice and support on the management of safe learning environments.

Pascale Vassie
Executive director on behalf of NRCSE Board of Trustees


  1. PeaceSchool is a supplementary school which through the great support and encouragement of NRCSE have been been awarded the bronze, silver and gold awards.

    • NRCSE Admin says:

      Good to hear from you Peace School, congratulations on all your work and your achievement in reaching the Gold Quality Framework Award.

      It would be helpful and inspire others if you could say a little more about how the developmental process of the Quality Framework helped you improve your supplementary school. We want supplementary school staff to understand that the Quality Framework is not just about showing how you work but about evaluating and improving delivery. The circle of honest evaluation and improvement that every organisation should do annually no matter how big or how small, there’s always room for change.

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