The UK has announced that under new government powers, the Department of Education (DfE) will be able to shut own unregistered schools it considers unsafe and illegal.
The new regulations are expected to impact the country’s haredi population, which “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,” the UK Jewish News quoted, referring to the government's statement on its education consultation process.
After the consultation process, education reforms announced included a law making it mandatory for all schools that are open for 18 or more hours per week to be registered or face closure, including criminal charges if they stay open.
According to the report, the new powers will allow the education secretary to suspend the registration of any independent school deemed to have “serious safeguarding failings which pose a risk of harm to students.”
The DfE announced that the regulations would allow it to use “rapid action” to shut down "illegal schools" considered “unsafe,” with the school’s closure enforced through a newly designated criminal charge if the school’s owner kept it open while it was not registered.
The government’s Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), will also be given additional powers to investigate unregistered schools, with its inspectors given the ability to aid in criminal prosecutions of unregistered schools.
The government’s consultation process asked those queried whether students at unregistered schools received a too narrow religious curriculum.