DCSF seeks explanation from Bradford for 33 ‘missing children’

The Department for Children, Schools and Families has given Bradford Council and its education authority until next week to explain the whereabouts of 33 children who are missing from school rolls, amid forced marriage concerns.

Junior children’s minister Kevin Brennan revealed the figure in evidence this week to the home affairs select committee as part of its current inquiry into domestic violence, including forced marriage.

Education Bradford, which runs education services in the city under contract from the council, identified 205 children who had gone missing from school rolls from September 2006 to November 2007, 172 of whom have subsequently been tracked to an alternative destination or are now on a school roll. This left 33 on the city’s out of school register.

Duty to identify missing children

The Education and Inspections Act 2006 places a statutory duty on councils to identify children missing education in their area.

A spokesperson for Education Bradford said the 33 could include children whose parents had not registered them with a new school after moving into, within or out of Bradford, or those who had been removed from their school roll after taking extended leave.

Schools must check travel documents

The spokesperson said: “Where [extended leave] is agreed, schools are advised to check tickets and travel documents to be clear about plans.”

They added: “We are continuing to work to identify the whereabouts of any missing children, including notifying the DCSF through its children missing education process. Where specific concerns arise the child safeguarding procedures are followed.”

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