NCB report on children missing education

Debbie Barnes, Chair of the Association’s Educational Achievement Policy Committee, said:

“We welcome the focus of this report. Every child deserves a good standard of education, to be safe and to be adequately prepared for further education, training or employment, but sadly, and as this report highlights, this is not the reality for many who are missing from education. The report rightly recognises that children go missing from education for many different reasons, but this can be the first sign of vulnerability to all forms of abuse and neglect, including sexual exploitation or radicalisation. Current legislation does not enable local authorities to safeguard vulnerable learners or to ensure that they receive a suitable education, for example, we do not always know when children have fallen off the radar as there is no requirement on some schools, including ‘illegal’ schools, or on parents/carers of children being electively home educated to provide any information or evidence of the quality of their pupils’ educational experiences or of their health and wellbeing. This is an area of pressing concern for all directors of children’s services as it reduces our ability to ensure that learners are safe and receiving a well-rounded curriculum that enables them to thrive. We welcome the recommendations in this report aimed at improving information sharing between local authorities and schools and extending the definition of children missing education, alongside the remit of statutory guidance, to bridge any gaps that currently exist. We would support a duty on schools, including academies, free schools and independent schools, to inform local authorities of all children on a part-time timetable and those in alternative provision and would argue that this should be further extended to include all children not in mainstream education. This will help to ensure that no child missing from education goes without the timely and appropriate support that they both need and deserve and that they and their educational outcomes are safeguarded. Without this some children and young people will continue to be hidden from view and their welfare placed at risk.”


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