Regulations to be applied to independent schools
Question 22 - Application of the Regulations to Independent Schools. Do you agree that the new Regulations should apply to Independent Schools? If not, why not?
Table 23: Question 22 – Responses by type of respondent.
|Type of respondent||Yes||No||Not answered||Total|
|Buildings and Infrastructure||2||1||3|
|Early Years Organisations||2||2|
|Equalities or Disabilities||2||2||4|
|Food and Catering||1||1|
|Inspection, Regulatory and Advocacy||2||2|
|Land and Greenspace||2||3||5|
|Sports and Leisure||1||1|
|Youth Work Organisations||1||1|
|% of organisations answering||96%||4%||100%|
|% of individuals answering||94%||6%||100%|
|% of all respondents||52%||3%||45%||100%|
|% of all those answering||95%||5%||100%|
A majority of respondents, 95% of those answering the question, agreed that the new Regulations should apply to Independent Schools. Organisational respondents were more likely to agree than those from individuals (96% and 94% respectively).
Of those respondents who answered Question 22, 5 went on to make further comments. These were provided by independent school and trade union respondents.
The respondents in agreement did so if it was clearly articulated that the legal and financial authority for schools in terms of commissioning of works, alteration etc, lay with the autonomous Governing Board of the schools in question, which acts as Company Directors and often as Trustees, and who cannot themselves be under ministerial direction. It was noted that the independent sector uses this autonomy to provide facilities that are at least as good as legislation requirements. The respondents who disagreed were concerned that independent schools could be disadvantaged if requirements to meet the new Regulations were very prescriptive in certain areas such as the criteria for the provision of outdoor recreation; yet grant funding or appropriate land purchase was just not available.
Those in agreement to include independent schools felt this was important to safeguard building standards, and that there was no logical reason for permitting independent schools to occupy buildings that were beneath acceptable standards. There was an accompanying view that the inclusion of independent schools was particularly important with respect to access requirements.
It was however stated that independent schools are unique in that they have their own individual ethos and this may translate into the need for different facilities. Schools are often selected as children are not suited to state school, so the application of state school restrictions would not be appropriate. There was a query about whether pupils in independent schools required the same levels of protection as ultimately all establishments remained subject to health and safety law and if parents were not happy about facilities they would just leave.