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Government 'must offer more support to help children who drop out of school'

30/03/2017 Joanna

A new report has shed light on the need for more support for the thousands of children in the UK who drop out of education.

The National Children's Bureau (NCB) has carried out an investigation into the issues facing vulnerable youngsters that drop out of school, finding that many are missing out on months or even years of teaching, with no national data collected on these children.

Freedom of information requests conducted by the NCB in 2014 and the BBC in 2016 suggests tens of thousands of children are missing education each year, with many facing tough family circumstances, bullying at school or special educational needs.

Missing school not only further undermines their future education and employment prospects, but also deprives them of a protective environment, increasing their risk of falling into crime, or suffering abuse or exploitation.

As such, the NCB is calling for a wider definition of children missing education to encompass those technically on a school roll, but who are not accessing full-time education - including cases where they have been excluded illegally.

This should go hand in hand with better data collection at a local and national level, as the NCB states that better information-sharing between agencies will help to ensure children receive the support they need. Resources should also be made available to schools and local authorities to identify children at risk of dropping out and to help them return.

Anna Feuchtwang, chief executive of the NCB, said: "These children are often living on the margins, disengaged with school and invisible to other services. They are often very vulnerable.

"Away from the safety and security of school, 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."

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