General Article Missing education: the hidden children

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By Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive of National Children’s Bureau

The simple fact of the matter is too little is known about the thousands of children who are missing education. The only way to piece together a national picture of the children who drop off the school roll and don’t receive a suitable education elsewhere (for example, through home schooling) is by conducting a freedom of information request – but the data returned by local authorities varies wildly.

The National Children’s Bureau has published the best estimate possible about this hidden group of children, showing that 49,187 children were reported as missing education (CME) at some point in 2016/17.

And this isn’t just about missing out on learning. These children are, to quote the Government guidance on the issue, at ‘significant risk of underachieving, being victims of harm, exploitation or radicalisation, and becoming NEET’, underlining that the impact on individual children can be acute.

I am struck by this fact...

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