Number of children ‘missing education’ rises a quarter

117,000 children were not registered at a school and not receiving a suitable education elsewhere at some point last year

Almost 120,000 children were “missing” from education at some point last year, an increase of almost a quarter.

Children missing education is an official designation for those who are “not registered pupils at a school and are not receiving suitable education otherwise than at a school”.

Data published by the government today suggests 117,100 children were considered to be missing educaiton at some point in 2022-23, up from 94,900 the year before.

Six per cent of children missing education have an education, health and care plan for special needs, compared to 4 per cent of pupils nationally. They are also more than twice as likely to have a child protection plan.

For those missing education on census day last October, moving out of the country was the primary reason in 11 per cent of cases, and moving out of a local authority area was the main factor in 9 per cent.

But for 8 per cent of cases, the child was awaiting the outcome of a school application, and 6 per cent related to “unsuitable” home education. It is the first time primary reasons data has been collected.