MORE than 20,000 children were missing from class when schools reopened last autumn as lockdown sees kids “falling through the gaps”, i
MORE than 20,000 children were missing from class when schools reopened last autumn as lockdown sees kids “falling through the gaps”, it has been reported.
Local authority chiefs marked a 38 per cent rise in the number of kids choosing to be home schooled when the annual school census was recorded in October.
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More than 20,000 children were missing from class when schools reopened last autumn[/caption]
The head of Ofsted has warned that some of these kids may be at risk as they are “out of sight” of the authorities.
And the Children’s Commissioner has said the school closures during lockdown may have led to pupils slipping off the radar.
Rachel de Souza said some children were already struggling from mental health issues or problems at home before the pandemic.
She added that the break in schooling has meant some of those kids have “fallen through the gaps during the pandemic” – and schools and social care services need to work together to spot families who are struggling, The Telegraph reports.
It comes as the number of students being home educated has risen in recent times – but the latest jump is almost double the figures seen in the past few years.
According to the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS), who do an annual survey of local authorities on the issue, the number of kids being schooled at home has grown by around 20 per cent each year for the past five years.
But it was up by 20,800 on the previous year on October 1, with over 75,000 kids being schooled at home.
It is not clear how may school-age children have left education all together[/caption]
The ADCS estimate 19,510 students were taken off the school roll in September alone.
In its latest report, it said local authorities do not know for certain how many youngsters are not on the school roll because there is no statutory register of home educated children.
Anna Feuchtwang, chief executive of the National Children’s Bureau, said there is an “urgent” need to understand how many children neither being taught at school or at home.
“It’s likely that tens of thousands of children are missing education entirely, living on the margins, and invisible to services,” Ms Feuchtwang said.
“Away from the safety and security of school, and without any home learning, they’re more at risk of abuse and exploitation, taking part in criminal activity, and missing out on support for special educational needs and mental health problems.”
Meanwhile, Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of schools in England, described the situation as “concerning”.
She told The Telegraph: “Although home education is a positive choice for some families, not everyone is equipped to teach their child well at home, and the decision should never be taken lightly.
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“There are also a minority of children who may be at risk, out of sight of the authorities.”
Kids in England were able to return to classrooms on March 8, after schools shut for the second time in the space of a year.
The Government had vowed to put schools at the forefront of its roadmap out of lockdown, with getting kids back to class a top priority.