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Father and daughter sentenced for running illegal south London school

|News

A father and daughter have been sentenced for running an illegal school for the second time.

Headteacher Nadia Ali, 40, and director Arshad Ali, 75, admitted running Ambassadors Home School Limited in Mitcham Lane, Streatham illegally despite being prosecuted previously for the same offence.

A school is regarded as an establishment which provides all, or substantially all, of a child’s education and has five or more pupils of compulsory school age attending. All schools must be registered with the Department for Education (DfE) and comply with set standards.

Ambassadors Home School Limited had 34 boys and girls aged between five and 13 on its register but its operators failed, despite warnings from Ofsted, to register the establishment as a school, as required by law.

Today (Monday, 11 October 2021) at Westminster Magistrates’ Court 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. Her father 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, from 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.”

Notes to editors

  • Paul Goddard is a Senior Crown Prosecutor within the Complex Casework Unit in CPS London South. 
  • Nadia Ali (DOB: 7.4.1981) is from Streatham in the London borough of Lambeth. She was given a community order, made to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,000 for the same offence in 2019.
  • Arshad Ali (DOB: 2.2.1946) is from Streatham in the London borough of Lambeth. He was fined £100 for the same offence in 2019. 
  • This is the sixth unregistered school prosecution. 

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