Online Education Accreditation Scheme
Everything you need to know about the OEAS
The OEAS is a non-statutory scheme introduced by the Department for Education (DfE) to regulate and assess the standards, quality of teaching, and safeguarding arrangements of full-time online education providers in England.
It aims to provide assurance to parents and students regarding the quality of online education.
The OEAS is not DfE registration. DfE registration for an online provider is not possible.
The OEAS is not Ofsted registration. Ofsted registration for an online provider is not possible.
The OEAS was established to incentivise online education providers to maintain high standards of education and safeguarding.
It aims to share best practices across the sector and reassure children, parents, and local authorities about the quality of online education.
The OEAS comprises two key elements:
- Non-statutory standards for online education providers
- Inspections by Ofsted, the appointed quality assurance body
Providers must meet these standards and undergo inspections to become accredited.
Providers eligible to apply are those that offer:
- Full-time online education to compulsory school-age children in England, or
- Represent a child’s main or only source of education, and
- Have a physical presence in England
It does not apply to providers offering ad-hoc or exceptional remote education.
No, accreditation with the OEAS is voluntary. The DfE encourages eligible providers to engage with the scheme voluntarily. However, starting from Autumn 2023, parents will be encouraged to choose accredited providers, making accreditation a valuable “kite mark” of quality assurance in the sector.
Provider applies for accreditation with DfE
DfE passes details to Ofsted
Ofsted carries out suitability checks
Ofsted carries out an accreditation visit
DfE (not Ofsted) decide on accreditation or not
Ofsted publish report if accredited
Provider appears on DfE Get Information about Schools page
Provider is not registered with neither the DfE nor with Ofsted
Providers can apply for accreditation by submitting an application form available on the DfE website. The DfE will conduct suitability checks, and if approved, Ofsted will carry out an accreditation visit to assess compliance with the standards.
After the visit, Ofsted will share its draft report with the provider and the DfE. Providers can comment on the report. The DfE will decide whether to award accreditation based on eligibility, compliance, and other criteria.
No, the OEAS is not DfE registration, nor is it Ofsted registration. It is a separate accreditation scheme focused on full-time online education providers.
No, the OEAS specifically applies to full-time online education providers for compulsory school-age children in England. It does not cover formal education settings that offer remote education on an ad-hoc or exceptional basis.
Yes, providers will be required to pay fees for suitability checks and accreditation visits. The fee structure is determined by Ofsted and is outlined in its response to the consultation on its role as the quality assurance body for the online education accreditation scheme.
For some providers, the fees may be substantial.
Tute does not offer full-time education to students. However, given the increase in the need for alternative provision, it does represent some children‘s main or only source of education. On that basis, Tute will be eligible to apply.
Tute has been closely monitoring the developments related to the OEAS. We are committed to providing high-quality online teaching and learning experiences that align with the standards expected in educational legislation.
While we have pioneered online education services within the areas of demand for our service and have created our own benchmarks in the absence of established standards, we want to ensure that our application for accreditation is a fair and accurate representation of what we do. We are closely observing how other providers navigate the accreditation process to gain insights and ensure that our application aligns with the expectations of the OEAS.
Our priority is to maintain the highest standards in online education, and we will consider applying for accreditation when we are confident that our application reflects our commitment to quality and safety for students. We believe that transparency and thorough preparation are key to achieving this goal.
A physical presence in England is required to be eligible for the scheme. We recognise the importance of aligning with the scheme’s requirements, and as part of our commitment, we are actively planning to relocate our operations from Wales to England to ensure compliance with the scheme’s criteria. We hope this to be in August 2024, at which time, there should be published reports and more experience within the scheme.
There are no reports available yet, suggesting that no provider has been accredited by the DfE under the OEAS. While we know some providers have made applications, there are no published reports or listings on the DfE’s Get Information about Schools page tondicate any approvals by the DfE.