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Children missing from education

Arrangements for identifying and maintaining contact with children missing, or at risk of going missing, from education.

The process of tracking pupils without an educational placement is part of our collective responsibility and ongoing commitment to safeguarding the welfare of children and young people.

We have rigorous arrangements for identifying and maintaining contact with children missing, or at risk of going missing, from education.


The national definition of children who are not receiving a suitable education is:

Children of compulsory school age, who are not on a school roll, nor being educated otherwise (e.g. privately or in alternative provision) and who have been out of any educational provision for a substantial period of time (usually agreed as four weeks or more) and who is not receiving a suitable education (i.e. deemed to be ‘efficient full-time’ education that is suitable to her/his age, ability and aptitude and to any SEN the child may have).

Children Missing Education Policy    Opens new window

If you are leaving a school

If you move or emigrate please give the school the relevant information about the new school, and your forwarding details.

If you decide to access private or home education please inform Pupil Services CME team.

When a child could go 'missing' from education

Children can go missing when there is a failure to register them at a school, or when they fall out of the education system and are not identified for us to ensure they re-engage with the appropriate provision (which may include services outside of school to meet their needs).

Their personal circumstances or those of their families may contribute to the withdrawal process and the failure to make a successful transition to their next school. For example they may:

  • Fail to start at an appropriate provision therefore never enter the system
  • Cease to attend, for example due to an illegal exclusion or withdrawal from school; or
  • Fail to complete a transfer between schools/educational providers (e.g. being unable to find a suitable school place after moving to a new Local Authority area, or after leaving a custodial establishment)

Notify us about a child missing education

It is vital that anyone who becomes aware that a child is not, or does not appear to be receiving education, notifies the Children Missing Education team, part of Pupil Services.

Referral form - children missing education    Opens new window

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