Councillor Gareth Williams has demanded answers over the 170 children identified as missing from education in Buckinghamshire, according to Bucks Free Press. His questions came as councillors at Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet meeting discussed the new Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children Partnership Annual Report 2022/23, which identified the 170 children missing from education.
Cllr Gareth Williams said: “If there are 170 children missing from education, they are also therefore missing from the mechanism to find early warning signs. And one wonders, if there are 1,091 children that are electively home educated, how do we check in on those 170 and why are there missing?”
He also asked if the numbers were typical for a county of Buckinghamshire’s size and what role organisations like Scout groups have.
The figures for children missing from education in Buckinghamshire is “probably slightly better” than the similar-sized county of Suffolk, according to Walter McCulloch, Chair of the Buckinghamshire Children’s Safeguarding Partnership Board.
He told the Cabinet meeting: “I know that children missing from education is something that is kept under close review.”
John Macilwraith, Corporate Director of the council’s Children’s Service, added: “The team are focused on both children missing and children who are electively home educated.”
He explained that the Children’s Service has a duty to visit home educated children at their home once a year, although acknowledged that the family are not always at home, meaning this is made more difficult.
Mr McCulloch said he was going to push for “community-based meetings” to ensure that charitable and voluntary organisations are brought to the table to improve information around safeguarding and other issues of children.