Children Missing from Education

Part of Portfolio Question Time – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:00 pm on 6 June 2024.

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Photo of Jenny Gilruth Jenny Gilruth Scottish National Party 2:00, 6 June 2024

I absolutely agree with the sentiment behind Liam Kerr’s question. Of course, the law in Scotland is slightly different from that in other parts of the United Kingdom. That is one of the reasons why that data measure is not currently captured in the same way in Scotland as it is in other parts of the UK. However, there is an urgency here.

Last year, I undertook greater information collection in relation to persistent absence. We now have the new measure. That data set was introduced in our data for the first time this year. It is important that Liam Kerr recognises that, because we have seen an uptick in persistent absence, particularly post-pandemic, with young people not engaging with the formal education system.

Liam Kerr has raised a hugely important point. I have more detailed data on the legalities involved, which I will write to him about later today. I hope that I can put that on the record to update the rest of Parliament.