The Department for Education consulted on the regulation of supplementary schools and other forms of out-of-school education over the winter of 2015/16. Many of you responded to this consultation and NRCSE responded also on your behalf.
The results of that consultation have just been published. Over 3,000 organisations and individuals responded directly through the online consultation, a further 15,000 additional responses were received via other methods including emails, letters and online petitions. Of the 3,082 responses to the full consultation document, 1,687 were from faith groups, 604 were from parents and 212 were from out-of-school settings.
We will be summarising the response here but in the meantime if you would like to download it and read through yourself follow this link – DfE consultation on out-of-school settings
There was overwhelming rejection of the proposal to regulate all settings operating 6-8 hours per week.
- Only 4.5% of people had any concerns about any out-of-school education settings they knew of and “Of those respondents who raised concerns, most expressed them in broad terms about out-of-school settings as a whole or the potential for there to be concerns about activities taking place in such settings, while others took the opportunity to express concerns about the impact of the proposed policy to regulate out-of-school settings” (consultation question 13, p6).
- Only 14.4% agreed that the definition of “intensive education” should be six to eight hours a week – the threshold at which it was proposed to register and inspect (consultation question 17, p8).
- Only 14.8% agreed that Oftsed should be able to investigate out-of-school settings that met the government threshold, with 74.6% giving an “No” (consultation question 20).
- In response to the question “What impact do you think the proposed system for registration and inspection will have on out-of-school settings?” (consultation question 21, p11), the published consultation summary states: “Many respondents felt that the impact of the proposed system would limit religious freedoms and have a disproportionately negative effect on faith groups.”
The Department for Education has set aside £3million to run a pilot scheme in 16 local authorities to check the minority of providers that they believe ‘could undermine British values’ and to provide guidance for parents to support them in making informed choices when considering out-of-school settings for their children.
Of course the choices that parents make are informed by the range of supplementary classes available to them. As local authority funding for community organisations continues to be cut, or in many cases has entirely stopped, it is becoming increasingly difficult for community organisations to afford to rent the most appropriate venues, to provide quality training and development opportunities for staff, to employ administrative support, to select diverse teaching resources, etc.
NRCSE will contact all those local authorities to encourage them to use the monies allocated to this pilot to offer training and support to supplementary schools as a positive way of helping communities to deliver specific educational activities that enhance and develop children’s cultural awareness and language skills, build their confidence and academic attainment, support them to be resilient to acts of hate, violence and discrimination.
NRCSE has developed and delivered quality assurance tools over the last 12 years, over 1,000 providers of out-of-school activities from across England have used those tools to evaluate and improve the safety and efficacy of their service. 488 organisations have gone on to obtain an NRCSE Quality Mark (previously Bronze, Silver, Gold or Special Distinction Quality Framework Award). We have unrivaled expertise in this area and have always worked closely with community organisations, supplementary schools, local authorities, the Department for Education and funders to ensure that our quality assurance tools are rigorous and developmental. If you would like to complete our 3-day Good Management course and/or obtain a NRCSE Quality Mark please tell your local authority to get in touch with us.