Skip to main content

DfE response: BBC report on unregistered schools

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Ofsted, School safety, Unregistered schools


The BBC has today, 26 February, published a report on unregistered schools in England. This follows an investigation by the BBC which they report found examples of poor conditions and safeguarding concerns.

Unregistered schools are illegal and unsafe and where any school is operating illegally, action must be taken. We work closely with Ofsted on suspected unregistered schools, including on a joint team, to help step up investigations and take whatever action is required.

Please find our full response to the BBC investigation here:

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

No child should be placed at risk and where a school is operating illegally action must be taken. We fund a joint team with Ofsted to target these organisations and as a result of that, 192 inspections have taken place and 50 warning notices have been issued. Thirty-eight unregistered schools have subsequently ceased to operate as schools and investigations are ongoing into the remainder.

It is disappointing that the BBC has not shared its evidence with us ahead of this programme. Evidence of criminal activity should be passed to the police who will investigate and allegations of children being placed at risk should be passed to the relevant local authority who have clear powers to take action. Where Ofsted has uncovered evidence of extremist content, we will take appropriate action.

We continue to work with our partners to look at how we can tackle this issue most effectively.


Further information:

  • Of the 12 schools that remain under investigation, nine have reported to Ofsted that they have ceased operating as schools however Ofsted is yet to verify this
  • If anyone has evidence that an unregistered school is operating they should inform the DfE or Ofsted immediately so that we can take appropriate action
  • Unregistered schools and out-of-school settings are not the same thing

Sharing and comments

Share this page