Polish Supplementary Schools and OFSTED and the DFE

Polish Supplementary Schools and OFSTED

Referring to a frequently asked question whether Polish Supplementary Schools should be registered within Ofsted or not, Polish Educational Society, after extensive consultation of this matter with Ofsted has obtained confirmation that the registration of Polish Supplementary Schools in majority of cases is not mandatory. The source of this information is also published and accessible on the Ofsted website in form of the document Early years and childcare registration handbook. Please refer to the ‘Registration not required’ section of the document.

The section includes a list of 18 types of childcare that do not need to register with Ofsted.
The 11th section stipulates:

If (excluding childminders) they provide no more than two activities from the following list:

  • School study support or homework support
  • Sport
  • Performing arts
  • Arts and crafts
  • Religious, cultural or language study

This only applies if you care for children who are aged three and over, and you do not care for children aged under five for more than four hours in any one day. There is more information about this type of exemption later in the factsheet.

If the main objective (stream of activity) of Polish Supplementary School is to teach Polish Language and Culture the last clause of this section applies to the establishment.  If the school offers others types of activities listed in the section e.g. ‘performing arts’ or ‘sports’ as a full-time activity offered alternatively to the Polish Language and Culture course than the registration within Ofsted is required. However, if activities e.g. performing arts’ or sport are included to the main course of Polish Language and Culture classes and there is no an autonomous course of  the other types of activities as ‘performing arts’ or ‘sports’ again the last clause of the section applies and the registration is not needed.  This rule applies to the other types of activities (‘extra-curricular activities’) listed.

The section 11th applies to the childcare establishments providing child care for children who are aged three and over, and if the establishment does not provide care for children aged under five for more than four hours in any one day.

This information is general and refers to Polish Supplementary Schools with limited scope of activities of teaching Polish language and culture. For more information regarding the registration we recommend direct contact with Ofsted. Contact details available on the Ofsted website.

We also advise all Polish Supplementary Schools to examine objectives and activities undertaken against the Ofsted requirements regarding the need of registration process. Founders and governing bodies of the supplementary schools are responsible for the lawful operation of the establishment within British legal requirements.


Polish Supplementary Schools and Department for Education

Please be also aware that Polish Supplementary Schools are not obliged to register with Department for Education, unless they meet criteria of being an Independent School (Part 10 Education Act 2002) defined as follows:

What is the definition of an independent school for registration purposes?

An independent school is defined as any school that provides full time education for five or more pupils of compulsory school age or one or more such pupils with a statement of special educational needs or who is looked after (within the meaning of Section 22 of the Children Act 1989) and is not a school maintained by a Local Authority or a non-maintained special school. Under the Children’s Act 1989, a child is looked after by a local authority if he or she is in their care or is provided with accommodation for more than 24 hours by the authority.

Definition accessible:  Department For Education Registration of Independent Schools Information Pack (p.4): http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/leadership/typesofschools/b009053/registration)

The definition describes an Independent School as an establishment offering full-time education defined on p.33 of the same document: ‘An establishment is likely to be providing full-time education if it is providing education which is intended to provide all, or substantially all, of a child’s education. It is unlikely that a school operating for fewer than 18 hours per week will be able to meet the standards and register as an independent school and we anticipate that schools offering teaching of around 20 hours per week or more will be providing full-time education and will therefore need to register’.

However, if your School provides education for more than 12 hours per week (12 h is recognised by HMRC as full-time education) please check whether the registration within DFE is mandatory or not. In this case please contact DFE directly: registration.enquiries@education.gsi.gov.uk.

For any further information or help regarding the above-mentioned matters please contact our office.

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