DfE consultation launched on the standards for boarding schools

19th January 2021

The DfE has launched a consultation regarding the revised standards for boarding schools and residential special schools in England. These standards are proposed to be published under section 87C of the Children Act 1989 as statements of national minimum standards, replacing the current national minimum standards published in 2015.

As part of the consultation, draft standards are provided for comment. They have been drafted by the DfE with the input of Ofsted and other stakeholders, and designed to help schools improve their quality of care for students for whom accommodation is provided.

The key proposed changes are:

  • A restructure of the standards into several parts, with an aim for each part and a clear expected outcome.
  • Quality terms have been introduced throughout, raising the bar to ‘good’, rather than using terms such as ‘suitable’ or ‘adequate’.
  • More emphasis is placed on the individual needs of children.
  • The standards on behaviour and bullying have been separated out.
  • A new standard on promoting good relationships has been introduced.
  • A new standard on guardianship arrangements.

Further, the consultation is asking for input on two proposed introductions. The first is whether it should be a requirement to report serious incidents to the DfE and/or inspectorates in order to inform inspection and regulation practice by identifying what schools consider to be ‘serious incidents’ and how they keep children safe.

The second is whether interested parties think there should be a minimum qualification, or minimum level of qualification for the post of head of boarding, and if so, what that qualification should be.

The consultation is now open and is due to close on 23 February 2021. It can be accessed here.

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