Heaps of youngsters have “fallen off the radar”, a government tsar has warned as she launches an inquiry to track down youngsters who’re now not within the classroom.
School attendance has dropped in the wake of lockdown and is a big “purple flag”, in line with Dame Rachel de Souza, The Children’s Commissioner for England.
Following two prolonged periods of faculty closures all through national shutdowns, a few children have dropped off the varsity roll altogether, meaning they are not even captured by Department for Education (DfE) information.
“There has all the time been this drawback that some children have been lacking from college and we didn’t recognize where they were, but attendance has become worse on account of Covid,” she instructed The Telegraph.
“Other People talk about ‘ghost’ youngsters. I hate the time period ghost youngsters as a result of for me they are real flesh and blood children and we need to know where they’re.”
Dame Rachel mentioned that one among the issues was that there is no national database of youngsters who’re no longer on the varsity roll.
“a rough number that has been bandied around of youngsters that we aren’t certain we can account for is set 80,000-100,000,” she said, however delivered that this is just an estimate.
probably the most prone children ‘want to be in class’
She advised how one police drive she met with had an inventory of children who had been in peril of felony exploitation, however those youngsters weren’t enrolled in class nor have been they known to the native authority.
“we’re all the time concerned about youngsters being pulled into gangs because they don’t seem to be in school, we are involved approximately kids with huge circle of relatives safeguarding problems, we are concerned about their psychological well being needs not being met, so they are falling right off the radar,” Dame Rachel said.
“I simply do not believe we must always underestimate the safeguarding aspect to boot, particularly coming in wake of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’ murder. probably the most susceptible children are the youngsters we’d like to be getting into school, and we want to understand approximately them and learn about their lives.”
Arthur, a six-12 months-antique boy was tortured, poisoned and finally crushed to loss of life in 2020 by way of his father and stepmother after government ignored a string of possibilities through the first national lockdown to save him.
Emma Tustin used to be found in charge of the “depraved and evil” murder of Arthur final month, whilst Thomas Hughes, his father, used to be convicted of his manslaughter.
When Arthur died, he had more than 130 areas of bruising on his body, which Jonas Hankin QC, the prosecutor, defined as “a bruise for every day of lockdown”.
The Youngsters’s Commissioner has introduced a brand new probe into kids who are not in school. She is running a pilot with 10 native government, to start with geared toward collecting information at the quantity of kids who’re lacking from mainstream education.
“We simply asked them the questions: how many youngsters have you ever got on the college roll? how many kids are not at school? it is a statutory accountability of a neighborhood authority to be sure all youngsters are in education,” she mentioned.
“So it was once in reality worrying for me that regardless of their perfect efforts, now not each native authority may just answer those questions.”
Dame Rachel advised that some directly-ahead, sensible steps could help authorities keep observe of kids who are recently slipping through the web.
“Why are we not only the use of one identifier for kids? at the moment you will have a school number, an NHS number, you’ve a bunch should you are registered with the police,” she explained.
“we want one identifier number for youngsters and then, whichever carrier comes in contact with them, they are going to recognize that one number and understand who they are.”
A DfE spokesperson said: “Our best priority maintains to be helping all youngsters to wait school or school. Our attendance alliance brings in combination nationwide leaders to spread best observe in improving attendance right across the us of a.
“they’re going to be responsible for making sure everyone operating on the floor with kids, as a trainer, soccer tutor, psychological medical expert or in another position, has the tools and resources they need to holiday down obstacles to children attending school.”