- Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw warns it is too hard to shut schools down
- In one unregistered school inspectors found toilets without running water
- Labour warns young children could be 'exposed to extremist ideologies'
Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief of Ofsted, said that the process for shutting down unregistered schools is 'inadequate'
Hundreds of children are at risk of being radicalised in illegal schools where pupils are held in 'squalid conditions', it was warned today.
School inspectors told Education Secretary Nicky Morgan that the process for shutting down unregistered schools is 'inadequate' after finding some children forced to use toilets without running water.
Ofsted's warning came after tip-offs about schools in London, Birmingham and other parts of England and triggered warnings pupils could 'exposed to extremist ideologies'.
Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief of Ofsted, said that in one 'deeply troubling case', inspectors found children at Bordesley Independent School in Birmingham did not have access to running water in the toilets while there was no evidence of appropriate vetting checks being carried out on staff.
He said inspectors also found three single mattresses covered in filthy sheets in one room, clear evidence of segregation and pupils being taught a narrow curriculum that was failing to prepare them for life in modern Britain.
He said that while that school has now closed, he has found that 'local authorities are not acting swiftly enough to identify unregistered provision and ensure that all children and young people are kept safe'.
He described the arrangements for closing down unregistered schools as 'inadequate' and said no individual has ever been prosecuted for operating an unregistered school.
Sir Michael wrote: 'Given the seriousness of the current situation, I recommend that as Secretary of State you urgently review the arrangements between the Department for Education and local authorities for safeguarding children in premises confirmed by Ofsted as unregistered schools.'
He also called for her to review the arrangements for home education to ensure they cannot be exploited to avoid registration.
Since September 2014, inspectors have highlighted 15 cases where they found evidence that an unregistered school was operating, with more than 800 pupils found to be in these premises during these visits.
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