Call for Greater Powers over Registration Exempt Settings

Happy little girls painting picture during creative art and craft class at school.

Call for Greater Powers over Registration Exempt Settings

While schools and early years education have been subject to registration and regulation for a long time, the same is not true for all organisations working with children. Across the country there are numerous education settings that are exempted from the various regulatory regimes. These include, for example, uniformed organisations, sports and leisure clubs, supplementary schools, faith-based organisations and arts clubs. This is despite the fact that most parents assume they are regulated in the same way as other school settings.

This anomaly has been recognised for a long time. After a series of scandals in faith schools, in 2015 the then Cameron government opened a consultation into the matter, the results of which were broadly in favour of the creation of a register of such organisations. In the end though, with the political travails of the next few years, and a lack of enthusiasm from existing regulatory bodies to take on the challenge, the matter seemed to be kicked into the long grass. However, last year the issue was picked up again with the creation of a pilot scheme at the local authority level to investigate the extent of the risk and make recommendations as to next steps.

The pilot scheme has now concluded and the Local Government Association has issued a request for additional safeguarding powers in relation to these settings, although they also emphasised that the vast majority of settings do not raise safeguarding concerns. At present, if a council suspects a school is operating illegally, they have been told to use existing powers under health and safety, planning or fire regulations to have them closed. This arrangement has now been deemed ‘wholly unsatisfactory’. Instead, councils are calling for powers to enforce a full safeguarding framework, similar to that which exists for other childcare settings.

The matter is now back with the government to bring forward proposals to meet these recommendations. However, whether or not your childcare setting is registered, you should make sure your safeguarding knowledge is up to date. All Morton Michel policyholders have free access to free training from flick learning, including their level 2 Child Safeguarding course, with a level 3 course coming soon! You can find out more here: