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UK ‘takes no action’ against children missing while locked, Ofsted warns

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Ministers “have no responsibility” for the identity or whereabouts of thousands kids who have fallen off the radar during the pandemic, Ofsted warned.

chief Inspector Amanda Spielman raising alarm about the “harm” that locking the door has done to children, warning of the fact that so many people have “disappeared from teacher“visibility” has resulted in significantly lower referrals to social care and a higher risk of abandonment.

Robert Halfon, chair of the Commons education committee, warned on Monday that 100,000 “ghost children” were at risk of abuse after being unable to return to school after schools closed last year.

Debuting Ofsted’s annual report on Tuesday, Ms Spielman called for a “proper registration” of out-of-school children to “parallel” with the information schools hold about their students, “to We can understand who sits in which category.”

“There are a lot of reasons why people fall into that category, and I don’t believe we really know who those kids are, where they’re educated, and who’s responsible for it,” she said. said more.

“The worrying thing is that we simply don’t have a handle. We really don’t know who is on that list of children who are particularly vulnerable to abuse and neglect.”

It happened when an investigation was launched into the errors that led to Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’ death, six years old, who was tortured and killed by his stepmother and father last June.

In court, Arthur was seen by social workers during the first national strike just two months before his death in Solihull, West Midlands, last June. But they concluded there was “no concern about protection” and closed the case.

The Ofsted report warns that nearly all children in the UK have fallen behind in their education and suffered as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, highlighting the importance of going to school for both purposes. education and welfare.

Ms Spielman told reporters on Tuesday: “There is clearly some significant risk to children around the reduction of the quality of education for a large proportion.

“But we know that there are a minority of children who are upset that school is safer than it is outdoors, and we have to realize that by closing schools we are making that minority less safe. ”

Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson said children have been “disappointed” during the pandemic.

“Boris Johnson promises to prioritize children’s recovery but offers his own executive team leader recommendations to help children recover. The Conservative Party has failed to overcome the scale of the challenge, she added.

The report also found that much progress and development for the youngest children “faltered” amid the pandemic, with some students falling behind in basic language and social skills.

It raised concerns about children in care feeling less secure due to course restrictions and fractured relationships with staff, adding that, in the worst cases, levels of anxiety lead to self-harm or self-destructive behavior.

Leaders told inspectors that some children in alternative providers (APs) were more involved in criminal exploitation, including gang violence and sexual exploitation. children during the pandemic.

In her commentary on the annual report, Ms. Spielman added: “When some kids need a little extra help, they should get it. And children who need care and support from a specialist are not wanted.”

Mark Russell, chief executive officer at Children’s Association, says many children’s services are “not responding well to the Covid storm” due to “long-term problems” including “cutting large” to government funding for councils and the lack of appropriate care. Locations.

“This shocking report shows that lockdown has left many children more vulnerable, struggling with mental health and at risk of perpetrators of sexual exploitation or crime. Some vulnerable children are yet to return to school,” he said.

“More needs to be done to get the most vulnerable children back into the classroom and support students to not only keep up with their studies but also their happiness. A coherent plan is needed to tackle these challenges, give children hope for the future and ensure they are not seen as a ‘lost generation’. “

The government has been approached for comment.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/ofsted-children-missing-pandemic-lockdown-schools-uk-b1971259.html UK ‘takes no action’ against children missing while locked, Ofsted warns

JACLYN DIAZ

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