Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at an unregistered school in Ealing, and how we are tackling peer-on-peer abuse.
Yesterday, Wednesday 24 October, the Crown Prosecution Service, acting on behalf of the Secretary of State, were successful in the first prosecution of an unregistered school. This has received coverage from the Independent, the Times, the Telegraph, BBC News, Sky News and the Daily Mail.
The case against Al-Istiqamah Learning Centre, in the London borough of Ealing, was due to them teaching children for more than 18 hours per week. This means they should have been registered as an official school.
In this particular case, no concerns were raised about the quality of the learning or safeguarding of the children.
The centre will close immediately, on a temporary basis, while the proprietors continue their next steps.
Minister for the School System, Lord Agnew, said:
We have always been clear that where schools are operating illegally action will be taken, and this decision is evidence of that. I welcome the court’s ruling and look forward to continuing our work with Ofsted and the CPS, building on the successes we’ve already had, to keep children safe and ensure they are getting the best possible education.
Today, Thursday 25 October, the Guardian ran a story about peer-on-peer abuse and how schools deal with these kind of incidents.
The department has worked with several stakeholders including NSPCC, Barnardos, Rape Crisis England and End Violence Against Women to develop detailed advice for schools on child sexual violence and harassment. The advice was published in December 2017 and sets out what this abuse and harassment looks like, and the legal responsibilities of schools, including the importance of preventative education and how to manage concerns.
There is also statutory guidance available, under the title Keeping children safe in education (KCSIE) –that is clear that all staff have a responsibility to provide a safe learning environment for children.
From 2020, the new Relationships and Sex Education curriculum will be mandated in all schools, in which children will be taught about respect and boundaries in relationships.
Minister for Children and Families, Nadhim Zahawi, said:
Peer on peer abuse can have a devastating impact on children and their families, which is why we have taken action to give this serious issue the prominence it deserves.
From September, all schools and colleges must follow revised statutory guidance, which includes detailed advice covering child on child sexual violence. The advice includes the various options open to a school to manage a report of abuse and detailed advice on how to support victims.
We are ensuring all young people know how to build healthy and respectful relationships by making Relationships Education compulsory in all primary schools and Relationships and Sex Education compulsory in all secondary schools, which will both teach children about topics such as consent in an age-appropriate way.