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In 2010, the Government established a voluntary scheme to recognise overseas schools that describe themselves as "British" and that meet a set of standards produced by the DfE. Schools that are found to meet the standards are recognised as British Schools Overseas (BSOs), are given an EduBase number and are entitled to display the BSO emblem. Recognition currently lasts for three years from the date of inspection and can be renewed with each successful inspection.

The Government wishes to revise the standards for BSOs to bring them into line with the current English independent school standards.

The consultation questions essentially ask whether each of the BSO standards should be brought into line with the English standards, and whether doing so might cause difficulties in certain host countries.

Annex A to the consultation sets out the proposed new standards. With one exception, the requirements fall under the same headings as the independent school standards and follow the English standards very closely (with the greatest differences being in Part 4):

  1. the quality of education provided by the school;
  2. the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils;
  3. the welfare and safety of pupils;
  4. the suitability of the proprietor, staff and supply staff to work with children;
  5. the premises and accommodation;
  6. the provision of information;
  7. manner in which complaints are handled;
  8. quality of leadership and management of the school;
  9. the quality of provision for boarding. This is not one of the independent school standards but, according to the consultation paper, has "largely replicated the national minimum standards for Boarding schools in England".

The consultation paper and the draft standards can be found here; the consultation closed on 17 February 2016. The Government plans publishing a response in Spring 2016.

If you require further information on anything covered in this briefing please contact Rachel Holmes ([email protected]; 020 3375 7561) or your usual contact at the firm on 020 3375 7000.

This publication is a general summary of the law. It should not replace legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

© Farrer & Co LLP, March 2016

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