Statistics on children removed from school in England

Nadeem Badshah made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Education

Department for Education did not have the information requested.

From: Nadeem Badshah

1 April 2011

Dear Department for Education,

I would like to get the latest figures for the number of children
taken off their school register because they did not return from a
visit abroad, and the ethnic breakdown.

Yours faithfully,

Nadeem Badshah

Senior Reporter

Eastern Eye newspaper

0207 654 7772

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Department for Education

1 April 2011

Dear Nadeem

Thank you for your recent email. A reply will be sent to you as soon as
possible. For information, the departmental standard for correspondence
received is that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you
are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number 2011/0027159

Thank you.

Central Allocation Team

Public Communications Team

Tel: 0370 0002288
www.education.gov.uk

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Department for Education

26 April 2011

Dear Mr Badshah,
Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 1 April
2011. You requested information on the number of children taken off the
school register because they did not return from a visit abroad, and the
ethnic breakdown of those children. I have dealt with your request under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Following a search of the Department's paper and electronic records, I
have established that the information requested is not held by this
Department.

The Department's National Pupil Database (NPD) is populated with data from
the School Census and other pupil level collections and can be used for
some pupil mobility analysis. However, there are substantial limitations
to this. For example, pupils may move to an independent school or general
hospital school from which individual level data is not collected, or
pupils may also move to other countries. It is therefore not possible to
distinguish pupils leaving a school for one of the reasons mentioned here,
from those who are deregistered because they have not returned from a
visit abroad.

Under the Pupil Registration Regulations schools have a duty to inform
their Local Authority when a pupil is removed from the school register.
Local Authorities use the information in taking forward their duty to
ensure children are not missing education.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should
make a complaint to the Department by writing to me within two calendar
months of the date of this letter. Your complaint will be considered by
an independent review panel, who were not involved in the original
consideration of your request.

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the
Department, you may then contact the Information Commissioner's Office.
Yours sincerely,

Laura Nurse
Data and Statistics Division
[email address]
[1]www.education.gov.uk

Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number 2011/0027159.

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

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1. http://www.education.gov.uk/

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From: Nadeem Badshah

9 May 2011

Dear Department for Education,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of
Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for
Education's handling of my FOI request 'Statistics on children
removed from school in England'.

I was told "Following a search of the Department's paper and
electronic records, I
have established that the information requested is not held by this
Department."

However, such figures were released by the government in 2008:

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/arou...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-...

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is
available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/st...

Yours faithfully,

Nadeem Badshah

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Department for Education

6 June 2011

Dear Mr Badshah,
I refer to your request for an internal review which was received on 9 May 2011. You
requested an internal review of the Department for Education's handling of your FOI request
`Statistics on children removed from school in England'.

The Department has now completed the review which was led by a senior civil servant who was
not involved in the handling of your previous request. The review confirmed that the
Department does not hold the information needed to answer your question.

This is because the Department's National Pupil Database is populated with data from the
School Census and other pupil level collections and can be used for some pupil mobility
analysis. However, there are substantial limitations to this. For example, pupils may move
to an independent school from which individual level data is not collected, or pupils may
move to other countries in the UK or elsewhere. This, and the fact that we don't collect
information on the reasons that pupils leave a school, means that it is not possible to
distinguish pupils leaving a school for one of the reasons mentioned above, from those who
are deregistered because they have not returned from a visit abroad.

You noted that figures had been provided on a previous occasion and cited a newspaper
article in which they appeared. It may help to clarify matters if I explain that the figures
quoted in the articles were collected from local authorities in a one-off exercise in 2008,
in response to questions from the Home Affairs Select Committee on action to safeguard
children and young people from forced marriage. Only a small sample of local authorities
took part. Full details of this report can be found at
[1]http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa....

This exercise has not been repeated and the Department is not aware of any plans to do so. I
was not aware of the above report when I replied to your original question and I apologise
if not referring to it has confused the situation.

Since the Department does not hold information on all possible reasons for children leaving
a school, to provide updated figures would mean contacting each local authority to ask them
to provide updated information on children missing education in their area. This would
amount to the creation of new information, and, as you may be aware, public authorities are
not required under the FOI Act to create information in order to comply with a request, as
the Act is directed at information already held. Furthermore, it is likely that to collect
new information on children missing education to meet your request would exceed the cost
threshold applicable to central Government. This is -L-600 and represents the estimated cost
of one person spending 3 1/2 working days locating, retrieving and extracting the
information.

I realise that this answer will be disappointing to you, but it is open to you to make
Freedom of Information requests directly to any individual local authorities about
information that they may hold about children missing education in their areas.

If you are unhappy with this decision, you have the right to appeal directly to the
Information Commissioner. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

The Case Reception Unit

Customer Service Team

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Further information about the Information Commissioner's complaints procedure can be found
on the Information Commissioner's Office website:
[2]http://www.ico.gov.uk/complaints/freedom...
Yours sincerely,

Laura Nurse
Data and Statistics Division
[3][email address]
[4]www.education.gov.uk

Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number 2011/0034639.

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa...
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa...
2. http://www.ico.gov.uk/complaints/freedom...
3. mailto:[email address]
4. http://www.education.gov.uk/

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