Jeremy Miles MS, Minister for Education and Welsh Language
I am pleased today to launch this consultation on the proposals to update the suite of Regulations under which independent schools in Wales operate. This consultation seeks views on the draft legislation to help inform the final updated versions of the Independent School Standards (Wales) Regulations 2003, the Independent Schools (Provision of Information) (Wales) Regulations 2003 and the new Independent Schools (Prohibition on Participation in Management) (Wales) Regulations 2023.
The majority of Regulations governing independent schools are now twenty years old, and as such no longer reflect current best practice, guidance, or policies. Amending the regulations is a vital element in ensuring that public trust and confidence in the independent school sector in Wales is maintained; as well as safeguarding the interests of children and young people learning in the independent setting.
In reviewing the regulatory framework surrounding independent schools we want to strengthen and update the Regulations as necessary to improve the quality of education and the welfare, health and safety of pupils in independent schools, whilst not limiting unnecessarily the freedom independent schools have to organise themselves and deliver education. The proposals also address recommendations for Wales from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) and the Children’s Commissioner for Wales.
By strengthening the legislative framework, we aim to address concerns about safeguarding and governance in some independent schools by strengthening safeguarding training requirements for school leaders and their staff and ensuring that they actively promote the safeguarding of learners in their school. The Standards Regulations will make clear the school proprietor is ultimately responsible for compliance.
We want to encourage all stakeholders with an interest in how independent schools in Wales operate to participate in the consultation which commences today and will conclude on 17 July 2023.