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Child missing from education

Children missing education (CME) refers to all children of compulsory school age who are not on a school roll, nor being educated otherwise (e.g. privately or in alternative provision) and who have been out of any educational provision for a substantial period of time (usually agreed as four weeks or more).

This means all children between the ages of 5 and 16 who are not:

  • Named on a school register
  • Being educated at home
  • In any other type of education (for example, college or work experience placement)
  • Who have failed to attend for at least four weeks

Section 436A of the Education Act 1996 requires local authorities to make arrangements to establish (so far as it is possible to do so) the identities of children who are missing education.

This means that by law the council is responsible for finding any children who are known as missing from education. Parents who do not make suitable arrangements for their child/children to access education could be subject to a School Attendance Order.

Children missing education do not include:

  • Children who are on holiday
  • Children whose whereabouts are known by the school but are not attending school (for example if they are in hospital)
  • Children who have moved to another part of the borough and are transferring schools

Our Education Welfare Service follows the local authority procedure for identifying and tracing children missing education.

We have a dedicated email address for all CME enquiries.