The Evening Standard is reporting that schools have been told to hold more than one emergency contact number for children following the death of a four-year-old London boy who was missing from classes for two weeks.
Guidance from the Department for Education says schools should keep more than one phone number for pupils “where reasonably possible”, after a consultation showed 87 per cent of people supported the move.
The change was prompted by the 2016 death of Chadrack Mbala-Mulo, who was found starved to death at home in Hackney after his mother died suddenly. He had been away from school for two weeks.
Staff at Morningside primary school in Hackney had attempted to phone his mother several times when he did not turn up at school, and also tried to visit her flat in a nearby tower block but could not get past the security entry system.
After the tragedy Chadrack’s school changed its procedures and now holds three contact numbers for each child.
The Department for Education wants all schools to follow suit, and a spokeswoman said holding more than one emergency contact number “gives schools and colleges more options to reach someone when a child is missing from school, as the unknown absence could also be a safeguarding concern”.
How many contact numbers does your school hold? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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