As pupils return to the classrooms this year there will be tens of thousands of children missing from the school registers.

I don’t mean those who are home educated or even those who did not return after the first school closures in 2020.

I am talking about pupils completely missing out on education and worryingly no-one seems to know where or who these children are.

We have a duty of care to our young people and that needs to start with education provision.

That is why I want a national children’s register to ensure every child can access an education as I believe education it is key to social mobility.

The register would detail every child of school age, which school they attend and would see any child moving school from either a neighbouring school or a different area, recorded as being at a new institution, to ensure a continued education.

It would end children being taken out of school and unaccounted for.

A Freedom of Information request I submitted revealed 360 children are recorded as not being in full-time education or accessing alternative educational provision in Cheshire alone.

We have hundreds of local children missing out on an education which undoubtedly will affect opportunities later in life, but what is being done about it?

I fear very little.

Local authorities have a duty to put in place arrangements for identifying those children of compulsory school age in their area who are not registered or receiving suitable education.

But this guidance from Government is non statutory – meaning there is no requirement on councils to do it.

I believe Government is wrong to allow councils to make their own decisions when it comes to education guidance surrounding this issue.

This is too serious an issue for people to have a choice over. It cannot be right and it needs to change.

A register could change this as the child would not be a number but properly identified and therefore followed up.

If we know who the children are who are missing then we can work towards finding solutions for those families, getting them back into mainstream education or an alternative which works for them, not just accepting children are not in school.

I have had meetings with Education Ministers about this and I will keep setting out the case for it until we get the change our children deserve.

This is too serious an issue to let go.