Children Missing from Education

Children who are not in school could be missing out on vital educational and social opportunities and experiences. Some of them may be at risk of harm or be in situations which are unsafe. We are keen for you to tell us about these children so that we can make sure that they receive appropriate education.

What 'Children Missing Education' Means?

All children of compulsory school age, regardless of their circumstances, are entitled to an efficient, full time education which is suitable to their age, aptitude and any special educational needs they may have.  'Children missing education' are those who are not registered at a school, not receiving a suitable education otherwise (i.e. Elective Home Education or alternative provision), are not regularly attending the school where they are a registered pupil or cease attending and/or their whereabouts or destination school is unknown.  These children can be at significant risk of underachieving, being victims of harm, exploitation or radicalisation and in later life becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training). 

Tracking and Monitoring

Effective information sharing between parents, schools, the community and the local authority is therefore crucial to ensure that these children are kept safe and are receiving the education they are entitled to.   New legislation was introduced by the DfE from September 2016 to make this even more robust. Schools and the Local Authority need to act quickly to make reasonable enquiries to prevent a child becoming 'missing'.    The authority has effective tracking and enquiry systems in place and an appointed named personto whom schools, other agencies and the public can make referrals about children who they believe are missing from education.  Joint working arrangements and information sharing protocols are also in place with services such as the Prevention Service, Children's Social Care, Housing, Health, HMRC, the Police, Youth Justice Service and other local authorities. 

Other LA Responsibilities

The local authority also has other duties and powers to support their work on CME which include:

  • a duty under section 436A of the Education Act 1996 to make arrangements to establish (wherever possible) the identities of children in the area who are not registered pupils at a school and who are not receiving a suitable education otherwise (e.g. Elective Home Education - EHE) 

  • arranging education for permanently excluded pupils from the sixth day

  • safeguarding children's welfare and the duty to protect them from harm and neglect

  • serving notice and issuing School Attendance Orders to parents who fail to evidence that their child is receiving a suitable education by EHE (leading to prosecution if the requirement to register the child at a named school is not complied with)

  • prosecuting in the magistrates court or issuing a Penalty Notice to parent/carer(s) who fail to ensure that their child(ren) attend the school or alternative educational provision regularly where they are a registered pupil

  • pursuing an Education Supervision Order through the Family Courts to support a child to attend school  

Notify Us of a Child Missing Education?

Please contact Julie Hodges (CME Co-ordinator)
Email: or
Tel: 01609 532477

If there is a significant risk of harm regarding a child, then the school's Designated Person for Child Protection should be informed and contact made with the CME Coordinator for the situation to be logged and action taken urgently. If not a school then the Customer Resolution Centre can be contacted on Tel: 01609 780780  

Useful Downloads

Children Missing from Education - Statutory Guidance - Sept 2016

CME 1 - In Year Leavers - April 17

CME 2 - Referral to CME Coordinator - April 17

CME 3 - Independent School Admissions - April 17