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Accommodation of students under eighteen by further education colleges: national minimum standards, inspection regulations

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    The Department of Health
  • Published date:
    27 March 2002
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The National Minimum Standards (NMS) are intended to safeguard and promote the welfare of young people under 18 for whom accommodation is provided, or arranged by, a Further Education (FE) College.  The standards are not applicable as such to the welfare of students aged 18 or over, although they may affect provision for those over 18 sharing the same accommodation or facilities as students aged under 18. Stationery Office Publication

These standards apply to all colleges within the FE sector, as defined in Section 87(10) of the Children Act (as amended) unless they are care homes.  They do not apply to specialist colleges outside the FE sector accommodating students with disabilities.  The standards, rather than the boarding school standards, will also apply to any schools where all the students accommodated are aged 16 or over.  A 'mainstream" FE college accommodating students with disabilities will not be a care home unless more than 10% of its students who are accommodated are provided with personal or nursing care.  Similarly, the standards do not apply to students who are not provided with accommodation by the college, but since they relate to wider welfare issues for accommodated students than residential provision alone, they may incidentally affect the college's provision for non-residential students.

The welfare standards are minimum standards, in the sense that they provide minimum standards below which no FE College accommodating under 18s is expected to fall in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of boarders.  Many FE colleges already meet these standards or exceed them.

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