80 CHILDREN whose whereabouts is not known to Wiltshire Council, are currently missing out on education because they are not registered to any school in the county.

Wiltshire Council investigated the number of children who had been registered to a school but were taken out of school and never returned after concerns were raised by the Children’s Select Committee.

It has now discovered 80 children are currently missing out on education and are not formally receiving any schooling. This figure does not include children being home educated, which is much higher.

Following the investigation it is believed nearly all 80 have either travelled abroad with family, or are part of the travelling community choosing not to put their children in school.

Cabinet member for children and education, Cllr Laura Mayes said: “I welcome this report as an example where we had anxiety about an issue and are taking it very seriously. It has been a way to find out what we don’t now and then do something about it.”

The council is now working with the UK Boarder Agency as well as police and health services to find the children and confirm that they are receiving education in another county or abroad.Cllr Jacqui Lay added: “I do wander if there are more children out there who we have not identified. 15 years ago if you saw children in the local supermarket and not at school we had truancy officer show would talk to them.” Jen Salter, head of support and safeguarding service said: “We are currently unsure of their whereabouts in Wiltshire. We are working hard to get a better grip of where these children are. We are working with partner agencies including the health services, police and UK boarder agency. We believe the 80 are in two categories and will be conducting rigorous checks to get a better understanding of these children. Is the figure to many, the answer is yes because we want it to be zero, however there will always be some children who are transitioning from being registered to different schools.

“I believe that we will be able to confirm a significant number are now abroad and that we see that number come down.”

Figures were published during a Children Select committee held in County Hall in Trowbridge.