DfE wins first case against unregistered school

Headteacher, Beatrix Bernhard, and director, Nacerdine Talbi, were today convicted of operating the Al-Istiqamah Learning Centre in Southall, west London. Tes reports.

Oftsed inspectors who visited late last year found more than 50 children, aged between five and 11, were being educated inside the centre, housed inside an office block on Uxbridge Road.

The centre’s operators had argued that it was only providing part-time schooling of less than 18 hours a week, and therefore did not need to register as a school.

But, after seeing photographs of lesson plans and homework diaries during a three-day trial, Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruled that the establishment was offering full-time education.

“This is the first prosecution of its kind against an unregistered school in England and Wales,” said Lynette Woodrow, a deputy chief crown prosecutor from the Crown Prosecution Service.

The case opens the doors for more prosecutions of dozens of unregistered schools around the country.

The Department for Education and Oftsted say they inspected 274 suspected illegal schools between 2016 and July of this year, and issued warnings to 63 of them.

According to the DfE, since then 55 unregistered schools have ceased their operations and investigations are ongoing into the remainder.

Read more DfE wins first case against unregistered school

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