Lost in transition? Helping to reduce children missing education


Dame Rachel de Souza, the Children’s Commissioner, published the report Lost in transition? The destinations of children who leave the state education system in February 2024. It makes salutary reading as it shines new light on the vulnerabilities of children who left the state education system last year and as Dame Rachel points out, this report was commissioned three years ago, and we have not shifted the dial on this issue.

A personalised journey

Redressing this concern is at the heart of Pupil Pathways core purpose. We all know that every child weaves a unique pathway along their learning journey. We also know that some children follow paths which are precarious and therefore they require additional support. Dame Rachel makes it clear that if these children are not vulnerable at the start of their journeys, they probably will be by the end.

Our purpose is simple. We help schools and local authorities take a proactive approach to supporting vulnerable children through the provision of accurate and timely information.

Primary to Secondary Transition

One of the report’s concerns is the primary to secondary transition where parents declined the offer of a secondary school place but did not then secure a place at a different school. These cases were not always visible to local authorities. The guidance currently states that schools do not need to tell local authorities about children leaving their rolls at standard transition points… Poor data sharing meant that it was possible for children to fall through the gaps.

Children who have not been allocated a school

SixIntoSeven can identify children within a local authority who have not been allocated a school from early in the summer term. Using our simple reporting procedure, an authorised user can search for such pupils and perhaps, as resources are scarce, concentrate on those identified as vulnerable. This single point of access also allows the user to identify where appeals are currently in progress.

In this way, SixIntoSeven helps realise Dame Rachel’s objective of simplifying the process for children and families and provide greater oversight of pupil movement at the local authority level.

The report includes this call to action. The government should introduce a national transition protocol with recommendations on how to support children with additional needs to adjust to a new school.

Children identified as having vulnerabilities

Over the years, SixIntoSeven has developed a working protocol for many children identified as having vulnerabilities. All our authorities collect information on such children, and although there are variations to accommodate local needs and practices, the data is exchangeable free of charge to all schools and local authorities across the country.

Through SixIntoSeven Lite, no child should ever leave a SixIntoSeven local authority without the institutional knowledge of the school moving with them.

SixIntoSeven: evolving to meet further challenges

SixIntoSeven has evolved over the years as the aspirations of our users have grown. We welcome this report and look forward to further refinements to SixIntoSeven to help meet some of the recommendations within Dame Rachel’s report.

Please use our contact page for ideas as to how this could be achieved or if you would like to see how SixIntoSeven can help provide a smooth, safe and lasting transition for all the children in your care.