THOUSANDS of kids will become criminals because they gave up on school in the aftermath of Covid, a new report has warned.
The Centre for Social Justice think tank estimates 9,000 more juvenile offenders, including 2,000 violent criminals, could plague Britain’s streets by 2027.
This is because swathes of kids didn't return to the classroom when pandemic restrictions were finally eased.
School absences have doubled post-Covid, with 1.7 million pupils missing at least 10% of class time.
Also included in the figure is a shocking 125,000 kids who are missing 50% or more of their schooling.
Ministers and the Department for Education have been criticised for letting down a generation of "ghost children".
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A surge in mental health problems and the culture of staying home during lockdown has been blamed for rising absenteeism.
Now, as children stray from desks evidence suggests they're turning up to the streets instead.
A predicted surge in crime sparked by missing school is set to cost taxpayers £100m.
Andy Cook, Chief Executive of the Centre for Social Justice, said: “Alongside stunting academic attainment, children with a history of school absence are around three times more likely to commit an offence than those who routinely attend school.
“For the sake of these children’s future — and for the safety of our streets — government must stop tinkering around the edges and accelerate the national rollout of attendance mentors, ensuring all children benefit from an education that sets them up for life.”
Former Tory Leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith added: “Abandoning a generation of children to absence will send a shockwave through society.”
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Labour's Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson said the stats are "a stark reminder of the dangers arising from the Conservative government’s lack of grip on our education system".
A government spokeswoman said: “We are working to prevent youth crime through our £200 million Youth Endowment Fund, which aims to give young people most at risk the opportunity to turn away from violence.”
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