Progress Education visit Houses of Parliament in call for government to crack down on unregistered schools

Liverpool headquartered Progress Education, a leading provider of alternative provision education, visited the Houses of Parliament to urge the government to crack down on unregistered schools in the alternative provision sector.

Alternative education is arranged by local authorities or schools for pupils who, because of exclusion, illness or other reasons, would not otherwise receive a suitable education.

Progress Education believes it should be a legal requirement for these institutions to be registered and subject to an Ofsted inspection when teaching children for more than eight hours per week.

The organisation’s head office is based in Liverpool and Progress Education operates 13 independent alternative provision secondary schools across the UK, supporting more than 400 secondary-aged students by helping them achieve their potential and take positive steps towards further education or employment with training.

Progress Education hosted a business roundtable event, which was sponsored by Sally-Ann Hart MP to call on the government to make changes to the current system.

Sally-Ann is the vice-chair of several all-party parliamentary groups including on special educational needs and disability, school exclusions and alternative provision and housing and social mobility.

Progress Education managing director James Madine said: “In recent years, there’s been a huge rise in the number of unregistered independent schools. Indeed, in 2019, an Ofsted report identified around 6,000 children who were attending an unregulated provision that year.

“Typically, the children who attend an unregulated school are some of the most vulnerable in society, and unregistered providers can put them at greater risk by denying them an appropriate education.

“These providers aren’t subject to an inspection of safeguarding or quality of education, so it’s impossible for authorities to understand what measures are in place to support pupils.

“We know that the lack of registered provision for excluded pupils is a contributing factor to why children fall through the net and become caught up in violence and criminal exploitation. So that’s why we’re calling on the government to tighten its definition of what actually constitutes a school.”

Progress Education is also asking local authorities to commission more alternative provision.

“The government, local authorities, Department for Education and Ofsted, must all work together to ensure that every pupil excluded from mainstream education receives the support they deserve.”

Commenting on the event, Sally-Ann Hart MP said: “I was delighted to host Progress Education’s inaugural business lunch at the Houses of Parliament.

“As vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on alternative provision, I am passionate about driving positive change across the sector, which will enable more young people to access a supportive, alternative education.

“The event was a major step forward in working with local and national government to improve the provision available and I look forward to working with the Progress Group over the coming months”.

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