Children missing education

Our attendance and children out of school team works with schools and other agencies to identify, find and support children and young people who are missing education or at risk of missing education.

We class children as children missing education (CME) when all the following apply:

  • they are aged between 5 and 16 inclusive
  • they are not on a school roll
  • they are not being educated at a school or anywhere else

Why it is important to get children back to school

Whatever the reason the is child missing school, it is important to get them back to school as soon as possible. They are missing out on vital educational and social opportunities and experiences. Some of them may be at risk of harm or abuse (see letter on child sexual exploitation (PDF, 314KB)) or in situations that are unsafe.

Children not in school are also at greater risk of involvement in criminal activity and of becoming victims of crime themselves.

Report a concern about a child missing education or who may be missing from the area

You can use our online form, email us or phone us to report a concern about a child missing education. You can also tell us if you are concerned about a child who may have gone missing from your area.

All reports are confidential, and we always make checks before we contact parents or carers.

It doesn't matter if you don't know the answers to some of the questions in the form - just tell us what you can.

By reporting your concern you will help keep the child safe. Where we find a child is missing education, we get in touch with the family to check the situation and provide support to help the child get back to school.

We will contact the police if we cannot trace a child quickly. We also share information with schools and agencies in other parts of the country through Department for Education online channels.

We liaise with other agencies as needed both in relation to the child reported and (where appropriate) to check that any other children in the family are safe and their needs are being met.

Further information

Contact us


Phone: 01270 375 255

Page last reviewed: 18 January 2024