With the re-opening of mainstream schools in the UK, many Madrassah leaders have enquired if supplementary schools will be allowed to open in the near future. The Department for Education has set out its current position regarding Out-of-School Settings, which includes Madrassahs, Maktabs and other part-time educational settings.

Dear Out of School Setting Managers,

To help with any queries that come your way, please find below a Department for Education (DfE) update on out of school settings. You may use this information when speaking with parents or other partners. We have been informed that these are under review and update as the current situation evolves. The overriding priority remains keeping the public safe.

COVID-19 – DfE update on Out-of-school Settings

While we have set out that schools should be preparing to welcome back some of their pupils on a phased basis from the week commencing 1 June, this is not the case for out-of-school settings. These should remain closed.

Out-of-school settings covers “any institution that provides tuition, training, instruction or activities for children in England, without their parents’ or carers’ supervision, that is not a school, college, 16-19 academy or provider caring for children under 8 years old, which is registered with Ofsted or a childminder agency”, and would include for example settings such as supplementary schools, community activities, after school clubs and tuition, as well as holiday clubs.

It should also be noted – with the exception of childminders who may continue to look after children in their care – that providers caring for children over 5 and who are registered with Ofsted (either on the compulsory or voluntary part of the General Childcare register), should also not be preparing to welcome back pupils where they are either:
operating outside of school premises, or caring for children from more than one school.

As education settings start opening to more pupils, it is crucial that we ensure we are minimising the risks to the nation’s health, and in particular the risk of a second peak that overwhelms the healthcare system. It is for this reason that we are planning for education settings to welcome back pupils in a phased manner, and why we are strictly limiting this step so that it only applies to schools, colleges, and registered childcare (subject to the exceptions above).

In addition, out-of-school settings tend to be key community hubs of social interaction, similar to places such as community and youth centres, indoor leisure facilities, and places of worship, which are still required by law to remain closed (except for certain limited purposes). The Government’s current planning assumption is that adjustments to the current measures for these types of premises will take place no earlier than 4 July, subject to the Government’s five tests for lifting restrictions being met and further detailed scientific advice provided closer to the time. In line with this, we do not anticipate out-of-school settings being able to welcome back children at the same pace as schools expand their attendance. Out-of-school settings should therefore be continuing to keep their premises closed to the public for the time being.

The Government will keep this position under review and continue to be guided by the best scientific and medical advice to ensure that the right decisions are taken at the right time.

Out-of-School Settings Policy Team – DfE