A BBC Look East programme last week highlighted the state of education for those children in Suffolk who have been excluded from school. It claimed that many of these are being put at risk in unregistered education centres. Unregistered centres are neither known to – nor inspected by – Ofsted, the education watchdog. Suffolk County Council has nine unregistered centres but denies children there are unsafe.
Liberal Democrat County Councillor Penny Otton – who was interviewed for the programme as Spokesperson for Education, Skills, Young People and Localities – said, “”It sounds to me like an absolutely major crisis!”
” I am shocked that these very vulnerable children are being taught in premises which are not registered, many being obviously unfit for use. Unlike other educational institutions, they are not inspected by Ofsted. This is a serious issue, which brings into question how the council is protecting and supporting these children who often have major behavioural problems.I have already brought this worrying situation up with the new Education, Children and Young People scrutiny committee and I will continue to do so. The council must do something as a matter of urgency.”