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“It’s the biggest story, mark my words. I think it’s really worrying. There are going to be dead children.” Zoë Thompson is not a drama queen. She studied physics at King’s College London, and thought she would work for Nasa. In fact, she went into teaching and has been principal of a large academy in a tough corner of north-east London for six years. In that time she has seen it all, but the surge in the number of children being taken out of school by parents on the pretext of home education is alarming, she says.

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