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What is a Child Missing from Education (CME)? 

A Child Missing from Education (CME) is defined by the Department for Education (DfE) as “a child of compulsory school age who is not on a school roll, not being educated otherwise”.

This is in line with CME Guidelines 2016. It also refers to children who are on roll at school and have been missing through unauthorised absence for 10 consecutive days (although a shorter time is appropriate where there are child protection concerns).

A child going missing from education, particularly repeatedly, can be a warning sign of a range of safeguarding issues. This might include abuse or neglect, such as sexual abuse or exploitation or child criminal exploitation, or issues such as mental health problems, substance abuse, radicalisation, FGM or forced marriage. 

There are many circumstances where a child may become missing from education, but some children are particularly at risk. These include children who:

  • Are at risk of harm or neglect
  • Are at risk of forced marriage or FGM
  • Come from Gypsy, Roma, or Traveller families
  • Come from the families of service personnel
  • Go missing or run away from home or care (LAC)
  • Are supervised by the youth justice system
  • Cease to attend a school
  • Come from new migrant families

As a school we make immediate enquiries into the circumstances surrounding a child who is absent/missing from school. From the point where a child is admitted to John Burns Primary School, we have adopted an admissions procedure which requires a parent/carer to provide documentary evidence of their own and the child's identity, their status in the UK, and the address at which they are residing. We also ensure that a family's contact details are in place with a minimum of two emergency contact details in addition to the parents contact details and these are regularly updated.

What we do if there is a concern

In the circumstances of a child being absent/going missing who is not known to any other agencies, the Headteacher will inform the Children Missing Education (CME) Officer of any child who has not attended for 10 consecutive school days without provision of reasonable explanation. Prior to doing so, as a school we would have made enquiries to ascertain whether the child is still residing at the home address and is not attending or whether the child is missing.