Recently the All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group met to discuss illegal schools. The event took place on Monday 6 December and attendees heard harrowing testimonies from former pupils of illegal schools.
They told us the schools they lived or learned in were unsafe, unsanitary, and cramped. That they studied a narrow religious curriculum with no English, Maths, or Science for long hours. That they were subject to intolerable physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.
The pupils stressed that their schools did not prepare them for an independent modern life in the UK, and some raised that they didn’t speak any English at school or in their community.
The pupils implored attending parliamentarians to take action to shut these schools down and protect future generations from undergoing the same harm. Will you help them?
These schools operate by exploiting loopholes in the law. This includes one which allows settings that teach a narrow religious curriculum to avoid registration by claiming they are places of religious instruction rather than schools – even when pupils attend them full-time.
Many illegal schools also use ‘sham home education’ as a cover for their activities. But, because there is no register of home educated children, authorities are unable to determine whether pupils are actually educated at home. All this means authorities such as Ofsted and the DfE are currently powerless to shut them down.
The Government committed to changing the law to close illegal schools all the way back in 2017... but it has yet to act and children are still being harmed.
You can help us by asking your MP to write to the Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi MP to ask him to close down these schools. We have prepared a tool with a template letter for you to do so, although we strongly recommend you tailor this to include a personal story, for example related to the benefits of your own education.