Thousands of children have fallen off the radar during lockdown, warns Dame Rachel De Souza

Hundreds of kids have “fallen off the radar”, a central authority tsar has warned as she launches an inquiry to track down youngsters who are not in the classroom.

School attendance has dropped in the wake of lockdown and is a tremendous “red flag”, in keeping with Dame Rachel de Souza, The Children’s Commissioner for England.

Following two prolonged periods of college closures right through nationwide shutdowns, a few kids have dropped off the college roll altogether, which means they are not even captured by Division for Education (DfE) data.

“There has all the time been this drawback that a few children have been lacking from school and we didn’t recognise where they have been, however attendance has deteriorate as a result of Covid,” she instructed The Telegraph.

“Folks speak about ‘ghost’ children. I hate the term ghost kids as a result of for me they’re actual flesh and blood children and we need to understand the place they’re.”

Dame Rachel said that considered one of the issues was that there is no nationwide database of kids who are not on the college roll.

“a rough quantity that has been bandied around of kids that we are not certain we can account for is set EIGHTY,000-ONE HUNDRED,000,” she mentioned, however delivered that this is just an estimate.

probably the most vulnerable youngsters ‘wish to be in school’

She informed how one police pressure she met with had an inventory of youngsters who were in peril of felony exploitation, however those children weren’t enrolled in class nor were they known to the local authority.

“we are always worried approximately kids being pulled into gangs because they don’t seem to be at school, we are worried approximately youngsters with huge family safeguarding issues, we’re worried approximately their mental well being wishes no longer being met, so they’re falling proper off the radar,” Dame Rachel said.

“I simply don’t believe we should underestimate the safeguarding aspect in addition, particularly coming in wake of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’ homicide. probably the most susceptible youngsters are the youngsters we want to be getting into school, and we need to know approximately them and learn about their lives.”

Arthur, a six-yr-antique boy was tortured, poisoned and finally overwhelmed to loss of life in 2020 via his father and stepmother after authorities overlooked a string of possibilities during the first nationwide lockdown to avoid wasting him.

Emma Tustin used to be discovered guilty of the “wicked and evil” homicide of Arthur ultimate month, at the same time as Thomas Hughes, his father, used to be convicted of his manslaughter.

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While Arthur died, he had greater than ONE HUNDRED THIRTY spaces of bruising on his frame, which Jonas Hankin QC, the prosecutor, described as “a bruise for every day of lockdown”.

The Youngsters’s Commissioner has launched a new probe into youngsters who are no longer at school. She is working a pilot with 10 native government, to begin with aimed at gathering information on the quantity of children who are missing from mainstream training.

“We merely requested them the questions: how many youngsters have you ever got on the varsity roll? how many kids don’t seem to be in school? it is a statutory responsibility of a neighborhood authority to be certain that all youngsters are in training,” she stated.

“So it was once in point of fact worrying for me that in spite of their best efforts, not each local authority may solution those questions.”

Dame Rachel advised that a few directly-forward, sensible steps would assist government keep observe of children who’re lately slipping during the net.

“Why are we not just using one identifier for youngsters? on the moment you’ve gotten a college number, an NHS quantity, you’ve got a bunch if you are registered with the police,” she explained.

“we need one identifier number for youngsters after which, whichever service is available in touch with them, they are going to recognise that one number and realize who they’re.”

A DfE spokesperson mentioned: “Our most sensible priority keeps to be supporting all youngsters to wait school or faculty. Our attendance alliance brings in combination nationwide leaders to unfold best possible practice in improving attendance proper around the u . s . a ..

“they’ll be liable for making sure everybody operating at the ground with children, as a teacher, football coach, psychological medical examiner or in every other function, has the gear and instruments they want to break down boundaries to children attending school.”

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