“Unregistered schools pose a serious threat"
A father and daughter have been sentenced for running an illegal school.
They had previously been convicted of the same offence in 2019.
The case dates back to June 2018 when inspectors from Ofsted’s unregistered schools taskforce first visited Ambassadors High School, in Streatham, South London.
The headteacher, Nadia Ali, was warned that they believed the school was operating illegally.
In September 2018, Ambassador’s High School applied to register as an independent school, with Ms Ali’s father, Arshad Ali, named as proprietor.
A pre-registration inspection was carried out in February 2019.
Ofsted found serious safeguarding issues and concluded that the school, which charged fees of up to £4,500 per pupil, per year, would not meet the independent school standards.
But the school remained open and continued to operate illegally.
The father and daughter were found guilty of running an illegal school, contrary to section 96 of the Education and Skills Act 2008 in September 2019.
Together they were fined £200 and ordered to pay £1,000 in costs and a total of £155 in victim surcharges.
Ms Ali was also sentenced to 120 hours of community service.
But despite the convictions, Ofsted inspectors returned to the school three more times and found that it continued to operate.
Ambassadors Home School Limited had 34 boys and girls aged between five and 13 on its register.
It was unclear whether teaching staff had been subject to appropriate employment vetting checks. Those in charge were unable to confirm the identities of all the adults working with children.
Nadia Ali, aged 40, and Arshad Ali, aged 75, admitted to running an illegal school.
At Westminster Magistrates’ Court on October 11, 2021, Nadia Ali was sentenced to eight weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, 120 hours of unpaid work, a 10-day rehabilitation activity requirement, and a prohibited activity requirement of not running or managing a school. She was also ordered to pay costs of £500.
Arshad Ali was fined £300 and ordered to pay costs of £200.
Ambassadors Home School Limited was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £500.
All three pleaded guilty to conducting an independent educational institution that is not registered.
Paul Goddard, of the CPS, said: “These defendants continued to run an illegal school despite their previous conviction for the same offence.
“Nadia Ali’s determination to defy the law was made clear by an interview she gave to the BBC, following her first conviction, in which she vowed that the school would remain open.
“Ofsted inspectors carried out three further inspections and found the setting to be operating yet again as a school.”
“During two of these inspections, children appeared to be sent home from classes early in an attempt by staff to conceal the fact that the space was being run as a full-time establishment.
“Unregistered schools pose a serious threat to children.
“During one visit to the school inspectors found a lack of evidence to indicate that all teachers employed by the school were qualified to teach, or that all had passed DBS checks.
“Registration of schools enables inspectors to regularly visit and inspect schools to ensure standards are being met, appropriate and quality teaching is being provided and children are being kept safe.
“By failing to register with the DfE, illegal schools are able to evade these checks, putting children at risk.
“It is a criminal offence to conduct an unregistered independent school and we will work with Ofsted to take appropriate steps to prosecute those who are responsible for running these illegal institutions where there is the evidence to do so.”