Lockdowns have led to an ‘alarming’ rise in the number of out-of-school children

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Lockdowns have led to an 'alarming' rise in the number of out-of-school children
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The Center for Social Justice has called on the UK government to create a national register of resting children over what they described as an “alarming rise” in the number of young people being homeschooled following China’s coronavirus lockdowns.

According to a study by the Center for Social Justice (CSJ), more than a fifth of all children have “disappeared” from classrooms since the government began implementing lockdown measures. The report revealed that 2 million of the country’s nine million students do not attend classes regularly.

The figure includes 1.67million children who were deemed ‘persistently absent’ by the Department for Education (DfE) in the second term of 2021, which is an 82 per cent increase on 2020 The CSJ went on to say that there had been an “alarming alarm”. ” 34% increase in the number of home-schooled students, with 81,000 home-schooled children.

“In some areas, the total number of home-schooled children has more than doubled,” the report said. “Currently, half of all homeschooled children have been found to have started their retreat from the classroom during the lockdowns.”

The think tank’s education manager, Alice Wilcock, said: ‘Although some receive a good education at home, neither the government nor local authorities have a clear idea of ​​who they are or what happens to them. Indeed, there is evidence to suggest that some are deliberately dropped out by schools to fend for themselves.

The CSJ pointed to the government’s lockdown policy in particular as a driver of the transition to home schooling, with some of these children being recorded as starting their education at home during the lockdowns. According to The telegraph of the daythe UK government has closed schools for more days than any other country in Europe except Italy, with UK school children missing lessons on 44% of learning days between January 2020 and July 2021.

The report also noted that child mental health issues and bullying were also motivators for removing a child from school.

Co-founder of anti-lockdown campaign Together, Alan Miller said“Another example of the consequences of containment and imposition policies. As always, the worst off suffer the most.

Therefore, the think tank called on the government to set up a national register of homeschooled children and allow a right of return for any child within six weeks of leaving school.

“This will allow professionals working with children to be able to tell where all children are, whether they are in school or at home,” said Dame Rachel de Souza, Children’s Commissioner for England.

“Some homeschooled children have been subject to child protection issues including abuse, neglect, criminal exploitation and child employment,” she added.

In response to the report, a spokesperson for the Department for Education said: ‘We know the importance of consistent education for children’s chances in life, which is why we have put in place a series of measures to help increase attendance levels.

“These include enhanced guidance for schools and councils, new data dashboards, councilors working with local authorities and a mentorship pilot for persistently absent pupils, all with the aim of ‘increase attendance levels in schools.’

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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