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New regulations for non-maintained special schools

DfE has published the non-maintained special schools (England) regulations 2015, which will come into force on 1 September 2015, replacing the 2011 regulations.

The key changes to the previous regulations are that the new regulations will:

  • make provision for the secretary of state to seek an emergency order from a justice of the peace (JP) for a NMSS to cease to be approved. This would have the practical effect of closing the school immediately. The JP may only make an order if it appears to the JP that a pupil at the school is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. The department will only use this power in emergency situations, where a child’s welfare is at serious risk. It is the department’s intention to issue guidance in order to ensure that this power is used appropriately and proportionately. The regulations also make provision for the right of appeal against an order made by a JP by the proprietor of a NMSS, to the First-tier Tribunal;
  • introduce the requirement for NMSSs to include arrangements that actively promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. Details on practical implications for NMSSs will be included in guidance;
  • make changes to the complaints procedures so that NMSSs will have the freedom to decide how and where to record “informal” complaints, thereby reducing bureaucracy for NMSSs. However there will be a clear requirement to have a formal procedure for a complaint to be made in writing, where the complainant is not satisfied with the response to their complaint dealt with on an informal basis; and
  • remove the detailed requirements for the prospectus that were set out in part three of the schedule to the 2011 regulations, which were onerous for NMSSs.

The new regulations are available here.

Page Published: 24/03/2015