A total of 350 children have been withdrawn from schools with no record of where they went. Ofsted inspection warns missing pupils may be at jihad risk…reports Asian Lite News
Sir Michael Wilshaw called for new rules requiring schools to collect more details of where pupils move to after they leave, saying that the present regulations fail to ensure children’s safety.
His demand came after Ofsted inspected a sample of 14 schools in Birmingham and East London and found that more than 1,000 pupils had left before the end of their schooling with little data of what happened to 350 of them. In some cases schools made curt notes to record that a child had left in the middle of the academic year, such as “gone to live with grandparents”, “moved to Manchester” or “gone back to Libya”.
Sir Michael released a letter to Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, asking for an urgent review of the level of detail that schools and local authorities are required to collect when a parent withdraws a child, reports The Times.
“They should take account of our heightened awareness of the risks that some young people face, such as female genital mutilation, forced marriage, child sexual exploitation and falling prey to radicalisation,” he wrote.
“We cannot be sure that some of the children whose destinations are unknown are not being exposed to harm, exploitation or the influence of extremist ideologies. We do not know whether these children are ending up in unregistered provision.”
The Department for Education said that it would issue new advice to schools and local authorities.
After concerns were highlighted about data recording, Ofsted conducted inspections of schools in both authorities. In seven schools in Birmingham, inspectors found that over a two-year period 626 children had left, and that in 248 cases there was no precise data for their next destination. In six schools and a referral unit in Tower Hamlets over the same period, 248 children had left, with incomplete data on 109 of these.
A Department for Education spokesman said: “We will be taking immediate steps to strengthen our guidance to schools on safeguarding and to amend the current regulations about the information schools collect when a pupil is taken off the register.
More than 60 Britons have now been killed while fighting for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, it was reported last night. The figure suggests that almost one in ten of around 700 British jihadists thought to have joined the group since 2012 had died, The Daily Telegraph said.