Hundreds of Brighton and Hove children may be falling through the cracks as they are missing out on school.
The so-called “hidden children” are known to include six primary age pupils who are not in school full time and at least 439 pupils that secondary schools believe are not attending for emotional reasons.
Other groups of concern are those on part-time timetables, travellers, transient families, pupils at unregistered schools, those in pupil referral units, LGBT young people who are victims of bullying and young carers.
A report going before the Brighton and Hove City Council’s Children, Young People and Skills Committee on Monday (17 September) spells out an action plan for tracking these youngsters.
Schools are being asked to let the council know when children are not attending full time as at the moment the authority is not sure about the extent of the issue.
The report said: “We understand children can be vulnerable if they are not attending school, have a history of family dysfunction, abuse, neglect and being in care, privately fostered, excluded or have unmet special educational needs.
“By being in receipt of their full (educational) entitlement, children and young people will be less vulnerable, at reduced risk from harm and have improved outcomes.”
Individual children are monitored at the moment if they are too ill for school or waiting a special school place. Others may be at risk of exclusion.
At the lower end of priorities are the 16 per cent of the 120 two-year-olds and four per cent of the 227 four-year-olds eligible for early years places who are not taking up places.
While it is not compulsory, there is encouragement from health visitors to take up the option.
If the committee agrees to the plans, the council’s Access to Education Team will work to track children in any circumstances where lack of education may not be noticeable.
The report said that the strategy was explained to Ofsted during the council’s recent inspection and goes beyond the statutory requirements.
It has also been discussed with Amaze, the charity supporting families of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, Brighton and Hove Parent and Carers Council (PaCC) and Managing Autism Spectrum Condition Ourselves Together (MASCOT).
The report added that the cost of the review was being met from existing budgets.
The committee is due to meet at 4pm on Monday 17 September at Hove Town Hall.
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