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Children missing education: Families’ experiences

This report summarises National Children’s Bureau (NCB) research into children missing education, which was funded by Lankelly Chase and took place between September 2015 and January 2017.

The overarching aim of our research was to give voice to children1 missing out on an education by developing an understanding of the pathways children take into missing education and what might prevent this, including effectiveness of policy and practice.

Research methods included a literature review and interviews with 17 families (child and carer) from across three local authorities where the child had experience of missing education. Children missing education officers and leads at these three local authorities were also interviewed and focus groups were held with local authority stakeholders who worked with those missing education.

The research aimed to provide an in-depth exploration of the experiences of families affected by missing education. We undertook the research to raise awareness of this somewhat hidden population and improve policy and practice in supporting them. We cannot claim our research represents all those affected, but the experiences shared offer useful insight into the issue.

The definition of ‘missing education’ used in this research was based on the Education Act 1996 (as amended), and referred to instances when children were not on a school roll and not educated other than at school (such as in private institutions or at home).