Today’s news review looks at media coverage of children missing from education.
Children in education
Today, Wednesday 30 November, the BBC reported on figures provided by local education authorities that showed more than 30,000 children were missing from schools in England and Wales for prolonged periods of time in the 2014-15 academic year. The BBC reported the statistics showed that of these, almost 4,000 children could not be traced by the authorities.
This story was published on BBC Online and was broadcast on the Victoria Derbyshire Show, which said more needs to be done to prevent this from happening.
Local authorities have a duty to establish the identities of children who are not registered at a school. We have recently updated our guidance precisely on this issue - Children missing from education, which was published in September 2016. This makes clear that local authorities and schools should be working together to make sure children are safe and receiving suitable education.
While the BBC’s coverage made reference to this new guidance, it did not reflect the fact that their figures were from a period when this guidance was not in place.
A Department of Education spokesperson said:
Every child, regardless of background, should have access to the best possible education.
We have issued new guidance to local authorities and schools making clear that they have a duty to establish the identities of children who are not registered at a school or receiving a suitable education.
Where children are being put at risk, local authorities and the police have clear powers to take action.