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Children missing education

The government has placed a duty on local authorities to make arrangements to establish (as far as it is possible) the identities of children in their area who are of compulsory school age and not receiving a suitable education, that is, children missing education (CME).

Children not receiving a suitable education are at increased risk of a range of negative outcomes that could have long-term damaging consequences for their life chances.

In Devon, we are committed to ensuring that all pupils who go missing from schools in the Local Authority, or who disappear from other counties and may have arrived in Devon, are speedily located.

What we mean by CME

All children of compulsory school age (5-16 years) who are not on a school roll, being educated otherwise (for example, at home, privately, or in alternative provision) and who have been out of educational provision for a substantial period of time (usually agreed as four weeks or more).

What to do if you are concerned

If you know or suspect a child is missing from education, please let us know straight away. Checks are routinely carried out before contacting parents or carers, so it is always better to advise us if you are in any doubt.

You can contact the CME Team by phone or email, and you can remain anonymous if you wish. By notifying us of your concerns you are helping to ensure the safety and wellbeing of some of the most vulnerable children in our community and your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Schools that have concerns should complete CME Referral Form 1 (CME1). Professionals and agencies that have concerns should complete CME Referral Form 2 (CME2).

These can be found in the resources section below. A MASH enquiry should also be raised if you consider this to be appropriate.

Any queries, please contact the CME Team.

Why children go missing from education

There are a number of reasons, including that:

  • they don’t start school at the appropriate time and so they do not enter the educational system
  • they are removed by their parents due to problems at school, disinterest or poor attendance
  • they cease to attend due to exclusion, illness or bullying
  • they fail to find a suitable school place after moving to a new area
  • the family moves home regularly
  • there are problems at home

Children missing education in Devon

This podcast was recorded by Georgina Bennett (due to the S175 action plan), to help ensure schools are providing all staff with clear information on CME during induction.