At any one time thousands of children are not in school. Amy Edwards looks at new research that seeks to understand why children are missing education and what can be done to turn the problem around.
‘Children missing education’ is an official term used to define those who are not on a school roll and not receiving a suitable education otherwise than at school.
Last year, an NCB Freedom of Information act found that almost 8,000 children and young people in over half of all local authorities in England were recorded as ‘missing education’ on any given day. We estimate this equates to nearly 15,000 children and young people missing education at any time across England.
Many of these children and young people were recorded as ‘whereabouts unknown’; the local authority did not know why they were not in school or where they were. This is particularly concerning because a child missing education is at significant risk of failing academically and being out of education, employment or training in later life, as well as at risk of harm or neglect. Such children are amongst the most vulnerable in society.
As well as attracting nationwide interest, these findings also sparked the attention of NCB’s Research Centre who were keen to understand why some children and young people were missing education and give a voice to those who had personal experience of this.
We approached Lankelly Chase, who want to bring about lasting change in the lives of people facing multiple disadvantage. With their support, we will be involving three local authorities and 18 families in this research project. We want to understand the pathways that lead to children missing education as well as find out what children and their families think would support their children to remain in or return to education. Our findings will be used to improve systems and develop an evidence base to improve policy and practice in this area.
We are currently in the early stages of our research project and are very interested to hear your experiences of children missing education and policy and practice surrounding this. If you, or someone you know or work with, has experience of missing education or you feel you can contribute to our research in any way, please get in touch via email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 020 7843 6811.