Here are two recent letters written by the Ofsted Chief to the DfE Secretary of State about the problem of unregistered schools: November 10th and December 11th. They do not make good reading either in terms of the problems reported, or the willingness of the DfE and LEAs to address them.
At one Birmingham unregistered school, Ofsted Inspectors found:
- squalid conditions, including three single mattresses covered in filthy sheets in one room and no running water in the toilet areas
- lesson timetables demonstrating that provision was made for at least 20 hours a week
- clear evidence of segregation, with separate classrooms for boys and girls
- no evidence of appropriate vetting checks being carried out on staff
- pupils being taught a narrow curriculum that was failing to prepare them for life in modern Britain
The inspectors were so concerned by what they had witnessed that the Ofsted Regional Director requested an emergency meeting with senior officers from Birmingham City Council, which, while recognising the urgency of the situation and the need to gain access to the premises, advised Ofsted that it did not have the automatic powers of entry commensurate with its duty to safeguard children.
Happily, Ofsted has these powers under section 97 of the 2008 Education and Skills Act, and they turned up with the police just to be sure. Sadly, this tale is even murkier than outlined here – details in the letters.
One thing's sure – these benighted, exploited children were not learning anything about COP21 and climate change is these so-called schools.