The number of children who go missing during school holidays is on the rise, the Telegraph & Argus can reveal.
New data shows 96 children failed to return to school as expected after the long summer break last year, the highest number in three years and a 55 per cent rise on the previous year’s figure.
More than half of the children – 54 of them – were still unaccounted for a month later, despite the efforts of the local authority to trace them or their families. The Telegraph & Argus requested Bradford’s figures for the past three years under the Freedom of Information Act.
Each year, many children reported missing from school rolls turn out to have moved to a different school but other children and their families are never traced. Campaigners fear some of them could have been taken overseas by their families to be forced into marriages. The authority’s education boss, Councillor Ralph Berry, said the rise could be down to the increasing number of Eastern European migrants, who could be moving back to their countries of origin without telling their children’s schools. He said: “In many cases it’s a family that has moved and neglected to tell us.