Consultation Hub

This site hosts consultations run by the Department for Education. Public participation is important to the development of our policies and guidance so please have your say.

Consultations that started before 21 January 2016 can be found at e-consultation

Open Consultations

Closed Consultations

  • Reforms to unregulated provision for children in care and care leavers

    Children in care and care leavers are some of the most vulnerable children and young people in society. Every child and young person should have access to a stable and secure placement in accommodation that can meet their needs and, most importantly, keep them safe. We need to work together to... More

    Closed 3 June 2020

  • Regulating Independent Educational Institutions

    This consultation seeks views on a number of proposals for legislation. A commitment to consult on the first proposal was included in a statement by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the School System, Lord Agnew, in March 2018. In summary, the proposals are: Expanding... More

    Closed 7 May 2020

  • Keeping children safe in education: proposed revisions 2020

    This consultation was withdrawn on 31 March 2020 We have suspended the 2020 Keeping children safe in education (KCSIE) consultation due to coronavirus, COVID-19. We do not know when the consultation is likely to resume but are monitoring the situation closely. At this point in... More

    Closed 31 March 2020

  • Behaviour hubs lead school and MAT application

    In light of the latest public health measures and current pressures schools are facing, we have decided to introduce a second opportunity to apply to become a lead school or MAT for the behaviour hubs programme later in the year. Applications submitted in this current window (closing 30... More

    Closed 30 March 2020

  • Subcontracting post-16 education and training with Education and SKills Funding Agency (ESFA) funding

    We are seeking views from providers who have an interest in subcontracted delivery to inform our thinking about reforms to subcontracting arrangements. This consultation is now closed but providers can still submit a response to the consultation by emailing ... More

    Closed 17 March 2020

We Asked, You Said, We Did

Here are some of the issues we have consulted on and their outcomes. See all outcomes

We Asked

Do you agree with the proposed 10% increases to fees for 2020-21, and how will that affect you as a provider?

You Said

The fees should not be increased because doing so will put additional pressure on the budgets of providers.

We Did

The majority of providers are a long way from paying the full cost of the inspection and regulatory activity undertaken by Ofsted, which means that the taxpayer continues to subsidise the regulation of the majority of children’s social care providers. However, due to additional pressures on the sector caused by Covid-19, we have since decided to waive the collection of the uplift in fees for the financial year 2020-21.

We Asked

We asked for views about strengthening the arrangements for ring-fencing DSG so that it is clear that DSG deficits do not have to be met from local authorities’ general funds.

You Said

The majority of respondents agreed with the proposals but thought they needed further strengthening to achieve what was intended.

We Did

The department put the ring-fencing requirement into the School and Early Years Finance Regulations 2020 to give it statutory backing.  DSG deficits can no longer be paid off from general funds without requesting permission from the Secretary of State, and the DfE will work with authorities to enable them to pay off their deficits from within DSG funds.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-changing-the-dedicated-schools-grant

We Asked

As part of the Government's commitment to all children in education in England, including those already being placed in online provision, we published the consultation document: Online schools accreditation scheme in September 2019. The consultation recognised the growing market of online education services for children in England, many of whom offer a full curriculum and may represent a child’s main or only source of formal education. As this type of provision is currently unregulated, the department sought views on an accreditation scheme to reassure children, parents and local authorities of the quality of education and safeguarding arrangements in using such services.

The consultation made two key proposals:

  • the establishment of a voluntary online education accreditation scheme
  • the establishment of non-statutory standards for online education provision

As part of the proposals, we consulted on the appointment of a Quality Assurance Body (QAB) to provide an inspection service for the online settings that join the accreditation scheme. The consultation document also included the draft standards; views were requested on their suitability and practical application.

The government response to this consultation can be viewed on https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/online-schools-accreditation-scheme.

You Said

There is substantial support for an accreditation scheme – with over 90% of respondents supporting the principles of the proposed scheme. Below is a summary of areas where we found significant support:

  • 94% of all respondents agreed that there is a need for a quality assurance scheme in some form – 96% of providers, 100% of local authorities, 86% of parents and 100% of the broader education sector;
  • there is 91% support overall for the principles of the accreditation scheme we have proposed – 96% from providers, 94% from local authorities, 93% from parents and 83% from the broader education sector;
  • there is also strong support for basing standards on the Independent School Standards (ISS) – 83% support overall, including 100% support among local authorities. Although there was less certainty about whether we had identified the correct standards, 68% of respondents overall felt that we had, including 80% of local authorities;
  • 89% felt that it is appropriate for online providers to have regard to Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) guidance.
  • there is strong support for the department to appoint a QAB to inspect online settings and providers (94% overall, 96% from providers, 92% from parents, 92% from the broader education sector and 100% from local authorities);
  • there is strong support for publishing all reports – whether standards have been met or not. This found 89% support overall, including 100% of parents and local authorities;
  • there is strong support for giving providers four weeks to submit an action plan if an inspection found they were not meeting all required standards. 83% overall said that this was an appropriate timeframe, including 79% of providers, 81% of local authorities, 90% of the broader education sector and 92% of parents.

Other substantial issues raised are summarised below:

  • 75% of respondents overall were concerned about the inclusion of overseas-based providers in the scheme, including 94% of local authorities;
  • questions relating to safeguarding showed a greater level of uncertainty relative to most other consultation questions. 41% of respondents overall said they were unsure if we had identified standards that would adequately safeguard children, although 52% answered ‘yes’ and only 8% ‘no’. 60% overall said they were unsure that safeguarding arrangements would work in practice, including 73% of local authorities. However, only 8% answered that they would not work, including just 7% of local authorities;
  • there was some uncertainty about whether remote inspections are likely to work in practice. 44% overall said that they were ‘unsure’. 44% also answered ‘yes’ and 12% ‘no’;
  • we detected some misunderstanding about possible sanctions for non-compliance, in the context of a non-statutory scheme.

The government response to this consultation can be viewed on https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/online-schools-accreditation-scheme.

We Did

Based on consultation feedback, we will make the following substantive changes to the initial proposals:

  • due to concerns raised relating to the inclusion of overseas-based providers, we will restrict the scheme to providers with a physical presence in the UK only;
  • whilst not prohibiting remote inspections entirely, we will indicate a strong preference to the QAB for physical inspections. All initial inspections will be carried out in person;
  • the degree of uncertainty relating to safeguarding suggests that there is a need for better definition and guidance from the department, particularly around a provider’s responsibility and how it will keep children safe online. As such, we will provide clear guidance, highlighting the distinction between the roles and responsibilities of those for the online safeguarding and the roles and responsibilities of those for the physical safeguarding. The term 'physical safeguarding' is intended to cover a wide range of safeguarding aspects – not only those limited to preventing physical harm or abuse. The exact definition of physical safeguarding will differ depending on the individual circumstances and location of the child. In practice, this will signify that the online provider is responsible for the online safeguarding only; the physical safeguarding will rest with the adults present at the site where the online education is being provided;
  • we will change the name of the scheme to the ‘Online Education Accreditation Scheme’. This is to more accurately reflect the difference between providers in this sector and traditional school settings. We will therefore avoid the use of the term ‘school’ altogether and refer instead to ‘online education settings’, ‘online education services’ and ‘online education providers’. The standards will also be amended accordingly;
  • we will assess to what extent it is workable to add additional information requirements at the registration stage;
  • we will make a technical change whereby due diligence is carried out by the QAB, rather than the department. The QAB will report the outcome of due diligence checks to the department;
  • The uncertainty relating to possible sanctions for non-compliance suggests there is a need for guidance from the department to ensure that all parties are clear about how the scheme will work. This will be provided for the commencement of the scheme.

The government response to this consultation can be viewed on https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/online-schools-accreditation-scheme.