New powers to shut down illegal Charedi schools announced

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

New powers to shut down illegal Charedi schools announced

Certain faith groups “may be disproportionately affected" by new Government initiative, the Department for Education has announced.

Unsafe, illegal schools will be shut down under new Government powers, the Department for Education (DfE) has announced.

The consultation response said that while certain faith groups, such as Charedi Jews, “may be disproportionately affected by the proposals, the benefit it brings to children’s quality of education, and in providing oversight of safeguarding through the regulated activity is of greater importance”.

Under the new powers, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi would be able to suspend registration of an independent school where there were “serious safeguarding failings which pose a risk of harm to students”.

The DfE said this would enable “rapid action” against unsafe illegal schools, with suspension enforced through a new criminal offence where the school’s proprietor would be held responsible if they kept the school open before it was registered.

The DfE said that its work on closing unsafe independent schools until now had been “slow”.

Ofsted’s powers to investigate illegal schools would also be boosted, so that the inspectorate could support criminal prosecution in the case of illegal unregistered full-time schools.

Reforms announced following a consultation on the issue will mean that all schools for school-age pupils open for 18 hours a week or more at least partly during school hours will need to register.

Four in 10 respondents to the consultation – 42% – expressed concern about pupils at unregistered schools receiving a narrow religious curriculum and 72% said all schools should be registered because education should be regulated and schools accountable.

Amanda Spielman, Ofsted’s chief inspector, said: “I strongly welcome the proposals set out by the Department for Education today, for which I’ve been calling for several years. Many thousands of children are currently being taught in unsuitable and unsafe illegal schools, which put their wellbeing at risk and deny them a proper education.

“These important changes will make it easier for Ofsted to prevent such places from operating, so we can be sure all children are safe and getting the good education they deserve.

“I look forward to seeing more detail of how our powers to investigate illegal schools will be strengthened, and hope to see this legislation put forward in the Queen’s Speech next week.”

Schools Minister Baroness Barran said: “For too long, some children have been able to fall through gaps in the system, spending most or all of their time during the day in settings that neither meet the required standards of safeguarding or quality of education.

“We will now move forward with our strengthened requirements for settings to register as schools and abide by the Independent School Standards, as well as enhanced powers for Ofsted to investigate where wrongdoing is suspected.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: