Access and Inclusion - Children Missing Education - Frequently Asked Questions

Who are children missing education?

A child missing education is a child who is not on a school roll and who has been out of education for more than four school weeks. This does not refer to children who may be playing truant from school, but children who are missing an education altogether. The term children missing from education (CME) refers to all children of compulsory school age who are neither registered at a school nor educated otherwise (i.e. home or privately educated).

What should I do if I suspect a child is missing education?

If you know of a child, living in Cumbria, who you believe to be missing from education you should let Cumbria County Council know straight away. You can make a referral by calling the Children Missing from Education team in the appropriate area or completing a referral form.

Why might a child be missing from education?

It has been estimated that there are approximately 10,000 children missing from education in the United Kingdom at any one time.  There are many reasons why a child may not be receiving a suitable education. Many never start education provision, others simply disappear from school rolls and some fail to register at a new school when they move into a new area. 

Why is it important to track children missing education?

All children have a right to an appropriate education and the longer a child misses out, the more difficult it can be to respond to their needs. Research has shown that children not in receipt of education are amongst the most vulnerable in our society and at risk of physical harm and exploitation, anti social behaviour, substance abuse, crime and illegal employment. The Department for Education requires each local authority to monitor and track children missing from education and to ensure that all professionals and the public, where appropriate, work together to safeguard these vulnerable children by ensuring they receive an appropriate education.

What do the CME team do on receipt of a referral?

When a referral is received we will attempt to trace the pupil though access to various databases and liaise with appropriate agencies / professionals. If, following these checks, we are satisfied that an appropriate education is being received we will take no further action, and the case will be closed. If no information is held about the child, we will contact the parents/carers to establish their proposals for the child's education and ensure the child is returned to education in a speedy and efficient manner. In some cases we may not be able to locate the child, and, in these circumstances, we will pass the information onto social care and the police if appropriate. We will not close a case until the child has been located and is receiving a suitable education.