Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Rishi Sunak

‎”We already have a reported 140,000 ‘ghost children’ – youngsters who went missing during the pandemic home-schooling regime and never came back”

Baroness Karren Brady, The Sun

Facts

In a column for the Sun, Karren Brady, Conservative peer, stated that 140,000 “ghost children” disappeared from school during the pandemic and “never came back”

Baroness Brady repeated the statement a day later on Twitter, writing: “There are a reported 140K children who went missing in pandemic home-schooling & never came back.”

Full Fact has explained that the figure of 140,000 children missing from school may have been taken from a report by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) thinktank, or from government statistics published in May 2023 (on which the (CSJ’s report is based). It describes the number of children in England who were “severely absent” in the 2022 summer term – that is, missed at least 50% of possible school sessions. It does not describe the number of children who left school and “never came back”. 

After being contacted by Full Fact, the Sun corrected the line in Baroness Brady’s column to read: “There were 140,000 “ghost children” who were severely absent – meaning they missed at least 50% of possible school sessions – in summer 2022.”

Baroness Brady did not respond to Full Fact’s request for comment but her tweet has since been deleted. 

Verdict 

As Full Fact explains, the selective or misleading use of official information without appropriate context and caveats has, and continues to, damage public trust in both official information and politicians.

We emailed Baroness Karren Brady’s parliamentary office offering her the chance to respond. As of yet, we have received no reply.

Additional NoteOn this website we frequently highlight the role played by media in amplifying false and inflammatory statements made by ministers and government supporters.  On this occasion the Sun, to its credit,  subsequently corrected the record. 

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