Children Missing Education
Statutory definition for Children Missing Education (CME) states that ‘children missing education are children of compulsory school age who are not registered pupil at a school and are not receiving suitable education other than at a school’
Statutory guidance link: Children Missing Education Statutory Guidance (publishing.service.gov.uk)
A child missing education is a different scenario to a child who truants from school. In the latter situation, a school will follow their non-school attendance procedures which may result in enforcement actions being considered by the Local Authority.
However the following scenarios describes the majority of children missing education cases:
- A child does not turn up to school and the school does everything they can to make contact with the family, including home visit and whereabouts of the child and family are unknown.
- A child who was previously unknown to the LA but has been identified to be living within the county / city and not receiving an education. For example, this could be referrals from another local authority or partner agency.
- A parent who has elected to home educate their child but has failed to provide information to satisfy the local authority that a suitable education provision is in place.
- A parent who has elected to home educate, has provided information on the education provision being followed but is deemed to be unsatisfactory to the LA after support has been offered to the parent.
Local Authorities have a statutory duty to make arrangements to identify, as far as possible Children Missing Education (CME). The majority of CME cases are investigated and closed quickly, where these children and young people are located through tracking activities and confirmed to be accessing an education, either within Cambridgeshire or Peterborough or on a school roll at another local authority. Children and young people who have moved abroad are also tracked to confirm their destination and that they have emigrated.
Local Authorities have effective tracking and enquiry systems in place and an appointed named person to whom schools, other agencies and the public can make referrals regarding children who they believe are missing from education. Children who have been reported as CME and are confirmed to be residing in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are allocated to a CME Officer to carry out reasonable enquiries as quickly as possible to ensure that they are safe and receiving suitable education.
Joint working arrangements are also in place with other local authorities.
Elective Home Education
Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council aims to work in partnership with home educating parents. When a child is registered as Elective Homed Education (EHE), we communicate with the parents to request how they are fulfilling their legal responsibility to educate a child other than at a school. If it appears that a child of compulsory school age in our area is not receiving suitable education, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise, we must serve a notice in writing on the parent requiring them to satisfy the LA that the child is receiving such education. The LA will only consider serving a School Attendance Order if it is not clear whether home education is suitable, this includes on the occasions that a parent fails to provide confirmation and information on the education provision being provided. Prior to this we will always try to work with the parents in order to address the situation informally. If we receive no information or we have concerns regarding the education provision, the child will fall into the scope of the Local Authority’s Children Missing from Education statutory duties.
The welfare and protection of all children are of paramount concern and the welfare issues may arise in relation to home educated children. If any child welfare concerns come to light these concerns will immediately be referred to the appropriate authorities. Local authorities have a duty under Section 175(1) of the Education Act 2002 to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.