Role of the Department for Education

The Role of the Department for Education in Shaping the Future of the UK

Education is the cornerstone of a progressive society, enabling individuals to achieve their potential and contribute positively to the community. The Department for Education (DfE) is the UK governmental body that is tasked with overseeing education and children's services. In this blog, Dr Richard Dune explores the DfE’s role, highlights key facts and statistics, defines essential terms, and provides best practice recommendations for implementing relevant legislation and regulations.

Key facts and statistics

  • Budget and funding - In 2021-22, the DfE was allocated £104 billion, highlighting the government's significant educational investment.
  • School attendance - As of January 2023, there were 8.9 million pupils in 24,400 schools in England.
  • Higher education - Over 2.5 million students were enrolled in higher education institutions in the 2022/23 academic year.
  • Early years education - The government provides 30 hours of free childcare per week for working parents of 3 and 4-year-olds, benefiting over 600,000 children annually.

Key definitions

  • Department for Education (DfE) - The government department responsible for education and children's services in England.
  • Legislation - Laws enacted by the government to regulate education and children's services, such as the Education Act 2002.
  • Regulations - Detailed directives developed by governmental bodies to implement and enforce legislation.
  • Compliance - Adherence to laws, regulations, and standards set by regulatory bodies, such as Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Recommended best practice for implementation of relevant legislation and regulations

  • Understanding the legislation - Education providers must be well-versed in key legislation affecting the sector. This includes the Education Act 2002, which provides the legal framework for the organisation of schools, and the Children and Families Act 2014, which covers provisions for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
  • Implementing regulations - Regulations are designed to ensure educational standards are met. Vital regulatory bodies such as Ofsted, which inspects educational institutions, and the CQC, which oversees care services, provide guidelines and standards that must be adhered to. Compliance involves regular training, updating policies, and rigorous internal audits.
  • Role of compliance software - Utilising compliance management software, such as ComplyPlus™, can streamline the process of adhering to regulations. This software helps manage documentation, track compliance status, and ensure timely updates and training, reducing the risk of non-compliance.

The role of the DfE in policy formulation

The DfE formulates educational policies aimed at improving the quality of education. Recent initiatives include the introduction of T-levels, a technical alternative to A-levels, designed to prepare students for skilled employment. The DfE also plays a critical role in teacher training and recruitment, ensuring that schools are staffed with qualified professionals.

Regulatory oversight and quality assurance

Regulatory bodies like Ofsted and the CQC operate under the aegis of the DfE, ensuring educational and care standards are maintained. Ofsted’s inspections provide an independent assessment of school performance, influencing public perception and funding decisions. The CQC ensures that care services, including those within educational settings, meet high standards of safety and effectiveness.

Supporting vulnerable children

The DfE is also tasked with supporting vulnerable children, including those with SEND. The Children and Families Act 2014 mandates tailored support plans for SEND students, ensuring they receive appropriate education and care. Schools and institutions must develop Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and work closely with families and specialists to meet these students' needs.


  • Stay informed - Regularly update knowledge of relevant legislation and regulations.
  • Use compliance tools - Implement compliance management software like ComplyPlus™ to streamline adherence processes.
  • Ongoing training - Provide continuous staff training to ensure they know the latest compliance requirements. 
  • Internal audits - Conduct regular internal audits to identify and address compliance gaps.


The Department for Education plays a crucial role in shaping the educational framework of the UK. By understanding and implementing relevant legislation and regulations, educational institutions can provide high-quality education and care. Utilising tools like ComplyPlus™ can further aid in maintaining compliance and ensuring the best student outcomes.

Click here to learn more and help your organisation meet the latest legislative and regulatory requirements; explore how our ComplyPlus™ software can assist in managing compliance efficiently.

About the author

Dr Richard Dune

With over 20 years of experience, Richard blends a rich background in NHS, the private sector, academia, and research settings. His forte lies in clinical R&D, advancing healthcare tech, workforce development and governance. His leadership ensures regulatory compliance and innovation align seamlessly.

The Role of the Department for Education in Shaping the Future of the UK - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

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