6.2 Children Missing from Education


For detailed guidance see Children Missing Education: Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities (January 2015)

More information on Children Missing From Education is also available on the Norfolk Children’s Services website.

1. Definition

“Children missing from education” refers to all children of compulsory school age:

  • Who are not on a school roll or being educated otherwise (e.g. privately or in alternative provision) for example children of travelling communities or immigrant families who never are registered for education.

The “Pupil Tracking Officer” (CME Assistant) is responsible for receiving details of children missing from education and for brokering support for them through the most appropriate agencies. Details of how to contact the CME Team can be found on the Norfolk Children’s Services website.

2. Required Action

2.1 By Schools

As a result of daily registration, schools are particularly well placed to notice when a child has gone missing.

Head teachers should inform the Pupil Tracking Officer and the child’s social worker immediately a child subject to a Child Protection Plan is missing. Schools are advised to work with the child’s social worker.

In the more general circumstances of a child going missing who is not known to any other agencies, the Head Teacher should inform the AIO of any child who has not attended for 4 weeks without provision of reasonable explanation.

2.2 By Other Agencies

Where any agency in contact with children and families believes that a child is not on the roll of a school or receiving education otherwise, then this information should be passed to the Pupil Tracking Officer with any details they have of the child in question. A form is available for this purpose.

2.3 By the Pupil Tracking Officer

The Pupil Tracking Officer makes initial enquiries and refers to AIO to make enquiries/visit. AIO notifies school if the child’s whereabouts cannot be ascertained. The Pupil Tracking Officer should ensure through the Education Welfare Officer that reasonable enquiries are made – e.g. home visits, liaison with Children’s Social Care Services and/or Housing – and notify the school if it appears that the child has moved out of the area.

3. Records and Notifications of Children Missing from Education

Where a child on a school roll is missing, the child’s name may not be removed from the school roll until s/he has been continuously absent for at least 4 weeks and both the school and the education service have failed, after reasonable enquiry, to locate the pupil and her/his family.

Where the child’s name has been removed from the school roll, the CME Assistant is notified on CME 1. If s/he has not been located, the Head Teacher should arrange for the pupil’s records to be retained until the child is located. They may be held centrally according to local arrangements.

Where a Head Teacher has been notified by a parent that a pupil is receiving education other than at school, and has removed the child’s name from the school roll, notification must be given to the education service within 10 school days; the pupil’s records should then be transferred to the education service to be stored in accordance with local arrangements.

If a school receives a new pupil without receiving information about the pupil from his or her previous school, the school should contact the Pupil Tracking Officer.

If the Pupil Tracking Officer becomes aware the child has moved to another school s/he should ensure all relevant agencies are informed and arrangements made to forward records from the previous school.

Each area may have their own local procedures on this issue, which will be available on the relevant websites.