Struggling to deal with illegal schools

There are a number of unregistered school in the UK. When they have a faith character, illegal schools tend to provide pupils with a narrow curriculum focused on the study of religious texts.

These ‘schools’ often open in inappropriate, unsafe buildings, where little attention is paid to hygiene or pupil safeguarding. Humanists UK has worked with whistleblowers to produce various exposés on the plight of children attending illegal schools.with Newsnight, BBC News at Six/Ten, BBC London News, Victoria Derbyshire, the Independent, and the Evening Standard.

Hackney Council has said ‘no real progress’ has been made on the issue of so-called illegal schools in the borough despite the launch of an Unregistered Educational Settings (UES) strategy over two years ago. In Hackney, the vast majority of unregistered schools are Jewish yeshivas, where high numbers of students spend all day studying the Torah. Former pupils of such schools report that they were not taught even the most basic skills, and left unable to speak or read in English.

The Council blamed the lack of any laws to allow them to close the schools, and its statement came as Ofsted Chief Inspector of Schools similarly told of her frustration at ‘the lack of regulatory teeth’ to address the problem at the launch of the inspectorate’s Annual Report. Humanists UK has called on the Government to change the law to allow such ‘schools’ to be shut down.

More on the Humanists UK website: here

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