Children Missing Education

Children Missing Education (CME)

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. The Local Authority has a duty to meet the requirements and responsibilities from within the Children missing education – Statutory Guidance for local authorities (DfE Sept 2016) and comply with it’s duties under Section 436A of the Education Act 1996 by having in place arrangements to identify Children Missing Education.

To assist in it’s duties, North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) has developed a Children Missing Education Protocol, which is shared with all partners and stakeholders. To ensure the Authority’s appropriate response to CME referrals, there are two separate pathways identified in the Protocol as follows:

  1. Children Missing Education -  whereabouts or destination school not known.  These are children who may have ceased attending the school or alternative provision where they are a registered pupil and/or whose families are likely to have left the county or have moved abroad (see Section 2, Pg 6 & Appendix 1 Pg 14)
  1. Children Missing Education - not in receipt of a suitable education. These are children who are found to be living in the locality but are not registered at a school or have not taken up their offered educational placement. This also includes children who are not regularly attending the school or alternative provision where they are a registered pupil or are not in receipt of a suitable education otherwise (i.e. Elective Home Education).  See Section 3, Pg 9 & Appendix 2 Pg 15;     also CYPSinfo – Elective Home Education)

All the above children can be at significant risk of underachieving, and in later life becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training). Children going missing, particularly repeatedly, can also act as a vital warning sign of a range of safeguarding possibilities. This may include abuse and neglect, which may include sexual abuse or exploitation and can also be a sign of child criminal exploitation including involvement in county lines. It may indicate mental health problems, risk of substance abuse, risk of travelling to conflict zones, risk of female genital mutilation, ‘honour’-based abuse or risk of forced marriage

Tracking and Monitoring

Information sharing between parents, schools, the community and the Local Authority is crucial to ensure that those children who are missing education are kept safe and receive the education they are entitled to. The Local Authority has effective tracking and enquiry systems in place and an appointed named person (CME Co-ordinator) to whom schools, other agencies and the public can make referrals if concerned about a child missing education.

Information relating to children who may be missing education or have been or are about to be taken off a school roll at a non -standard transition point is captured from schools on a daily basis utilising Group call, or by a manual referral from schools to the CME Co-ordinator.  Joint reasonable enquiries can be made as quickly as possible by schools and the LA to identify where the family is and what support is needed. Services such as the Admissions Team, Children & Families Services (referrals through MAST), and Locality SEND Hubs can support children & young people to re-engage with their education. Joint working arrangements are also in place with agencies and services such as, Housing, Council Tax, HMRC, Health, the Police, and other Local Authorities to locate and support children and their families. Information is also shared within NYCC safeguarding processes such as the (M)ulti (A)gency (C)hild (E)xploitation, Runaway and Missing from Home or Care and Private Fostering groups.

Other LA Responsibilities

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

  • safeguarding children’s welfare and the duty to protect them from harm and neglect
  • making 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)
  • serving Notices (Ist Notice and Imminent Order) and issuing a School Attendance Order to parents who fail to evidence that their child is receiving a suitable education by registering at a school or otherwise.
  • pursuing a prosecution and/or an Education Supervision Order for those who do not comply with the School Attendance Order
  • issuing a Penalty Notice, pursuing an Education Supervision Order or prosecution of parent/s who fail to ensure that their child attends regularly at the school, or alternative educational provision, where they are a registered pupil
  • arranging education for permanently excluded pupils from the sixth day

Who should be notified of a child missing education ?

CME Co-ordinator - Tel: 01609 532477 or e-mail: CME.Coordinator@northyorks.gov.uk or julie.hodges@northyorks.gov.uk

Relevant Documents 

Children Missing Education - Protocol (January 2022)

CME Referral Form

CME 1 

CME 2

Multi Agency Risk Assessment 

Further Legislation

Grounds for deleting a pupil

One Minute Guide - Children Missing Education

Useful downloads

CME Statutory Guidance (DfE - Sept 2016)

School Attendance Statutory Guidance (DfE – August 2020)

Useful External Weblinks

The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 can be found at:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2006/1751

CYPS Info Related Pages

School Attendance

Elective Home Education

Early Help

If there is a significant risk of harm identified regarding a child in a school setting, the school’s Designated Senior Person for Safeguarding should be informed. Other than a school setting the Customer Service Centre should be contacted on Tel: 01609 780780.  The CME Coordinator should be made aware to enable the situation to be logged and ensure action has been taken urgently.