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Part 10 of the Education Act 2002 requires all independent schools to be registered with the Department. Applications for registration of new schools must be made before the school begins to operate and admit pupils. Regulations made under the Education Act 2002 set out the standards all independent schools in England must satisfy as a condition of registration.
In April 2012, consultation was undertaken on amendments to be made to the Independent School Standards Regulations (2010). A copy of the consultation report is available to download from this page. The impact assessment of the changes is also available. Following consultation, amendment regulations have been approved to commence from 1 January 2013 and a consolidated version of the regulations is available for download.
Although the regulations on anti-bullying and health and safety no longer require proprietors to have regard to specific guidance, schools may find it useful to refer to the following advice available on the Department's website:
There is also advice to help schools understand their obligations following changes to the premises standards in Part 5 of the regulations: premises advice.
There is statutory guidance which schools must have regard to in relation to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of pupils:
These regulations cover:
These standards will be examined by Ofsted before an application for registration is approved and also within the first year of operation. Thereafter, independent schools will continue to be inspected on a regular cycle by Ofsted or one of the three approved independent inspectorates to ensure they continue to meet the standards for registration :
The 2002 Act provides for action to be taken where schools do not meet the standards. The majority of independent schools will undergo regular three-yearly inspections in a six-yearly cycle. However, from September 2012, those mainstream schools with good or outstanding inspection reports are inspected at intervals of up to six years.
Provision for under-threes and the welfare of boarders will continue to be inspected every three years and the welfare of pupils in special schools will continue to be inspected annually. Further information on the inspection arrangements for independent schools is available within Part E on page 24.
The Department has prepared an information pack that sets out for proprietors the requirements of the legislation and helps those intending to apply for registration to submit the necessary documentation. The pack gives advice on those points most commonly raised by independent schools. It can not attempt to offer an authoritative statement on all matters relating to the regulation of independent schools and, given the diversity of the sector, schools may wish to request tailored advice.
We aim to process applications for registration as an independent school within six months.
The Department has produced revised advice for independent schools following the amendment to the Independent School Standards Regulations on requirements governing the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils in independent schools. The advice can be downloaded from this page.
Registration enquiries mailbox
Independent Education and Boarding Team
Department for Education, Mowden Hall
Telephone: 0370 0002288
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Departmental advice on health and safety covering activities that take place on or off school premises, including school trips.
Advice for headteachers, staff and governing bodies on preventing and responding to bullying as part of their overall behaviour policy.