55 children ‘missing from education’, says report

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A TOTAL of 55 children have become “missing from education” in South Tyneside since September last year, a new report reveals.

Members of the council’s Safeguarding and Education Panel met yesterday to receive a report from Helen Watson, the authority’s corporate director for Children, Adults and Families.

It revealed that of the children to have left the education system, four had moved from the UK and 45 had been traced to new schools in the borough or other local authorities in the UK.

As of last month, five children had moved to another local authority, but failed to register in school.

The remaining child is a European immigrant, known to have arrived in the area, who has failed to register at a borough school, and who is now being pursued via the Immigration Office.

The report also reveals that there are 17 children in the borough in receipt of medical home tuition.

In her report, Helen Watson says: “Tracking the whereabouts of children and young people who leave the area and whose destination is unknown is time consuming.

“Sometimes parents do not inform their child’s school that he or she is leaving, and locating such a child can be problematic.

“There are local, regional and national contacts who will investigate.

“Providing the full entitlement for children and young people who require medical home tuition is also a challenge.

“Sometimes the children are very ill and cannot cope with this amount of tuition.

“Sometimes their programme of study are quite advanced and finding a range of tutors can be difficult.”

The local authority has a statutory duty to pursue parents whose children do not attend school, and prosecute where appropriate.