Today our blog looks at Ofsted’s latest information on unregistered school settings as well as an article in the Financial Times on apprenticeships.
Today, Friday 12 April, Ofsted has published its latest information on unregistered school settings. They estimate that 6,000 pupils are being taught in ‘illegal schools’. This was covered by the Guardian, the Independent, the Times, BBC Online, the Mail, the Sun, the Mirror and I News.
Unregistered schools are illegal and it is our aim to intervene whenever such a setting is identified. On 24 October 2018, in the first ever trial of this kind, the Courts found two defendants and the company guilty of operating an illegal school.
We have already announced our intention to legislate to strengthen Ofsted’s powers to investigate and gather evidence on illegal schools in order to support prosecutions and ensure that these settings are closed down.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
Today’s data shows why our new register of children not in school is so important. Illegal schools are unregulated and present a danger to both the quality of education and the welfare of those children who attend them – a register will vastly improve councils’ capacity to identify those children and intervene.
We have already established a joint team with Ofsted and provided them with £3 million to investigate these settings, and continue to work with them and the Crown Prosecution Service to make sure illegal activity is uncovered and justice is delivered.
Today, the Financial Times published an article which suggests that the apprenticeship levy is failing to boost social mobility.
Delivering more and better-quality apprenticeships will ensure that more people from lower socio economic backgrounds are given the opportunity to gain the skills and training they need to build successful careers.
The ‘Opportunities Through Apprenticeships’ project was launched in November 2018. It aims to support social mobility by creating opportunities for more apprentices from disadvantaged areas to undertake high value apprenticeships with higher earnings potential and progression.
We have also taken action through our marketing campaign to ensure that there is clear representation from apprentices of BAME backgrounds, including showcasing apprentices of BAME backgrounds in high status professional roles.
In addition to this, our Five Cities Project is promoting the uptake of apprenticeships by BAME individuals in five major cities - London, Greater Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, and Leicester.
Apprenticeship and Skills Minister Anne Milton said:
No one should be denied the opportunity to learn new skills and go on to have a great job and career. We have set a target to increase the amount of apprenticeships started by people from BAME backgrounds by 20% by 2020. To achieve this goal, we launched the Five Cities Project and set up our Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network to improve diversity, promote and widen access to apprenticeships.
We have made sure progress and it’s encouraging to see the number of people from BAME backgrounds starting an apprenticeship in 2017/18 has remained at the seven year high of 11.2%. However, we know there is more to do. These issues will not be solved by government alone and we will continue to work with employers to make sure that high quality apprenticeships are accessible to all people from all backgrounds.