Friday, 11 March 2016

Bradford Council accused of being naive

"Ofsted has accused a council of being ‘naive’ when it comes to illegal schools which could be operating in its area, the Yorkshire Post reports."

"Sir Michael Wilshaw, boss of the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills, warned Bradford Council staff not to be ‘naive’ about how children are being educated and has asked for evidence on what ‘intelligence’ they’ve gathered on unregistered schools."

"Naz Shah MP went further at a meeting between the council and Ofsted and accused the former of being in ‘denial’."

"Ms Shah said: ‘Mr Wilshaw called it naivety. I feel that would be a nice way to put it. I would say that there’s some denial here.’"

"The meeting, the Post reports, also included discussions on standards, the Prevent counter extremism strategy and the levels of children missing from education."

"Council leader David Green said: 'At the meeting with Sir Michael Wilshaw we were asked about whether there were any unregistered and illegal schools in Bradford. We are able to demonstrate that when we have been concerned, we have acted decisively."

" 'Currently we are not aware of any illegal schools but we are constantly striving to improve our intelligence in this area. It is good to assess with Ofsted how we can improve. Obviously if Ofsted identify areas for improvement we will act on their advice immediately..."

"Ofsted’s criticisms come shortly after a Department for Education consultation on children missing from education which proposed putting additional responsibilities on schools and councils for tracking and tracing children."

"This provoked the Luton Borough Council chief executive Trevor Holden to respond: ‘It is the Secretary of State for Education who regulates independent schools and maintains a register of these … but local authorities have no jurisdiction over independent schools under the current system.` "

"An illegal school is an independent (by definition) school and thus falls into the DfE remit. Is there confusion over the roles of LEA's, Ofsted and the DfE - you bet."

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