Children missing education

Pupils missing from school - not high risk

The following actions will be taken by professionals if a child goes missing from a school roll but the child is not considered to be at high risk.

If at any point the school have concerns about the child's welfare they should refer to Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub

Days 1 to 5

Follow first day calling and contact procedures as defined by the school policy. Continuous efforts should be made by the school to make contact with the family, including calling all emergency contacts and home visits.

Days 6 to 10

Where a pupil has been absent for more than 5 school days, and all efforts to contact the family have been unsuccessful, the school should complete the 'Missing Pupil Checklist - Action for Schools'. This is available from our Education Welfare Service (EWS).

School Attendance Support Team
Thurrock Council, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, RM17 6SL

: 01375 652 568


If the child remains missing the Pupil Tracking and Child Employment Officer should be contacted no later than the tenth day of absence to arrange for a referral to be made.

The referral should include all the attempts made by the school to make contact and any other information that the school hold. Schools should continue checks on a daily basis and update us if any further information is obtained.

The Pupil Tracking and Child Employment Officer will link with relevant officers, agencies and local authorities to continue efforts to track and trace the pupil.

Days 11 to 19

Once a referral has been sent to the Pupil Tracking and Child Employment Officer, schools should continue to make efforts to contact the family and assist the Pupil Tracking and Child Employment Officer and other agencies in the search.

Day 20

After 20 days of unauthorised absence, if the pupil remains a child missing education (CME) and efforts to trace them have been unsuccessful, the EWS will:

  • review the situation with the school
  • notify the school and other relevant agencies in writing

If the decision is made to remove the child from the school roll, the pupil’s records must be uploaded to the 'Lost Pupils' database using the statutory electronic Common Transfer File (CTF).

As CME status may raise child protection issues, if schools believe a child or family has gone missing, the child should remain on the school roll until all enquiries have been completed by the school and EWS.

We, together with the school, must record that they have completed these procedures before deleting them from the register.

Schools cannot remove a pupil from the school roll until reasonable enquiries have been made over a period of at least 4 weeks. If this process has not been followed, schools will be required by law to reinstate pupils back on their school roll.

Following receipt of a CME referral, if the EWS is able to contact the family via phone and confirm their whereabouts - within a reasonable distance from the school - the case will be referred back to the school as a non-attendance issue and a home visit by EWS will not be necessary.