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Children’s commissioner publishes report into number of children not in education

On 15 June 2022 the Children's Commissioner published a report titled 'Voices of England's Missing Children report'. The report follows an 'Attendance Audit' conducted earlier in 2022 to investigate how many children are missing from education or persistently absent.

The report indicated that due to time-lagged population estimates, local authorities are not able to have an accurate figure of how many children are living in their area at any one time. This therefore means that there is no way of telling how many children are out of education and in need of support to ensure they do not fall through the gaps in the education system. The Children's Commission described the current situation as 'simply not good enough'.

The Attendance Audit also revealed that some children are missing from education due to extra challenges such as bullying, poor mental health, poor physical health or poor local Special Educational Needs and Disabilities provisions. The Children's Commissioner described these reasons for persistent absence as 'flags that the education and care system is not working for every child in England.'

Shockingly, the Attendance Audit also revealed that in autumn 2021, 1.7 million children were persistently absent, representing 1 in 4 children. This also worryingly marked an increase from autumn 2020, in which 916,000 children were recorded to be persistently absent.

The Children's Commissioner has set a target of 100% attendance on the first day back in school in the upcoming September term. As part of the drive to meet this target, a 'Back into School' portal has been set up to provide schools and parents with resources to encourage a return to school for those persistently absent.

For the full report, click here.

Julia Queen, Barrister, Coram Chambers