Welsh Government proposes amending regulations for independent schools in Wales
The Welsh government says it intends to amend the current regulations governing independent schools in Wales in a bid to enhance the quality of education and improve the welfare, health and safety of independent school pupils, Herald Wales has reported.
These changes follow a review of the existing regulations, feedback from stakeholders, and recommendations from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).
The proposed amendments primarily focus on two sets of regulations: the Independent School Standards (Wales) Regulations 2003 and the Independent Schools (Provision of Information) (Wales) Regulations 2003.
The Welsh government also intends to introduce a new set of Independent Schools (Prohibition on Participation in Management) (Wales) Regulations, which outline the grounds for prohibiting certain individuals from participating in the management of independent schools.
These three sets of regulations are part of a broader framework of regulation, guidance and policies aimed at safeguarding children in independent schools. The Welsh Government said it aims to establish parity between maintained and independent schools in relevant areas.
Key areas identified for improvement include governance and management of schools to ensure pupils’ safety and wellbeing. The proposed changes take into account IICSA recommendations, which include promoting safeguarding, enhancing training requirements for school leadership and staff, and increasing the frequency of background checks.
The amendments also clarify where responsibility for compliance lies, by replacing instances of “the school must” with “the proprietor must” in relevant requirements. The change is intended to clarify who is responsible for meeting the standards. Other proposed changes include raising expectations by using terms such as “effective” or “good” instead of “satisfactory” or “adequate” in relation to the quality of education provided by schools.