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Providers of children’s homes and educational services must navigate the complexities of the Children’s Homes Regulations, a legal framework that is vital for the care and education of children and young people. It is important to seek legal assistance to provide you with advice on the best way to protect your interests.

We have experience of providing advice and assistance to independent schools, providers of residential children’s homes and fostering agencies in a range of different cases, such as inspections and enforcement action.

We are able to assist with all legal matters relating to children’s social and care services, which may include the following types of cases:

There are distinct regulatory provisions that guide children’s education, residential homes, and independent fostering agencies. Ofsted upholds the responsibility to inspect and ensure these regulations are met by independent schools and children’s homes across England.

The legal framework for registration and inspection is different in Wales and there have been a number of recent changes. In Wales, services are regulated and inspected by the Care Inspectorate for Wales (CIW).


Laura Guntrip is a Partner and Head of the Healthcare team.

Find out more about our legal services for the health & social care and education sector.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Ofsted will inspect independent schools at least every three years. However, where schools are judged as requiring improvement or inadequate, those will be re-inspected within two years.

The lead inspector will normally write a report setting out the findings and this will be sent to the school within 14 days after the end of the inspection. The final report will normally be published on Ofsted’s website within 19 working days of the end of the inspection.

If you have any concerns during the inspection, your first step is to raise these with the lead inspector. If your concerns have not been addressed during the inspection, you must raise a complaint within 10 working days after the concern was raised or after the report has been published. If you are unhappy with the way in which your complaint was handled, you have 15 days to request an internal review. Following this stage, if you remain unhappy, you can ask the Independent Complaints Adjudication Service of Ofsted (ICASO) to review the case. This must be done within 3 months of receiving Ofsted’s written response to the internal review. ISASCO can make recommendations to Ofsted, but cannot change the outcome of the complaint.

SCIFF is the social care common inspection framework. It is guidance on how Ofsted will inspect social care services. SCIFF was launched in 2017 and was last updated in March 2019. The purpose of SCIFF is give more consistency between Ofsted’s inspections of different services.

A LADO is a Local Authority Designated Officer. The LADO should be notified of all allegations where a person who works with children has behaved in a way that has harmed or may have harmed a child, where they have possibly committed a criminal offence against a child or have behaved towards a child in a way that indicates they pose a risk to children. The role of the LADO is to co-ordinate the allegations made against an individual who works with children and young people. They will provide advice and guidance to employers and organisations, liaises with the police and other agencies and monitors the progress of the case to ensure it is progressed as quickly as possible.

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