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Children Missing Education (CME)

Digital Front Door:

By "suitable education" we mean efficient full time education appropriate to the child's age, ability and any special educational needs that the child may have.Education is compulsory for children starting from the school term after their fifth birthday and the last Friday in June of the school year that they turn 16. A child missing from education is a compulsory school-age child who is not on the roll of a school, not placed in alternative provision by a Local Authority (LA) and who is not receiving suitable education at home.

It is everyone's responsibility to Safeguard Children under Working Together to Safeguard Children DfE statutory guidance published March 2015.

Visit the Department for Education for more information.

We have a CME guidance document (PDF, 430.0 KB) that includes preventative practice effectively used by Kent schools and the legally required processes in managing exclusions.

It is potentially a safeguarding issue when a child is moving away without the school knowing the forwarding address and the details of the new school. When a child is missing from a school or is moving away, schools have the initial responsibility to make reasonable enquiries and to establish the whereabouts of a child or the key information of the new address.

Reasons why children go missing from education
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There are various reasons children go missing from education:

  • They do not start school at the appropriate time and so they do not enter the educational system
  • They are removed from school by their parents due to problems at school, disinterest or poor attendance
  • They stop their education due to exclusion, illness or bullying
  • They fail to find a suitable school place after moving to a new area
  • Children's personal circumstances can contribute to them missing education (eg. If family is homeless and they are living in temporary accommodation or refuge, if there are long term medical or emotional problems).

Our duty
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Under Section 436A of the Education Act 2006 the local authority has a duty to identify (as far as it is possible to do so) the children living in Kent who are not receiving a suitable education. They must also negotiate the support for them to make sure that they get back into education as soon as possible.

Referring a child
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For appropriate action to be taken, the child needs to be referred to the local authority. The people and services who can refer a child are:

  • Schools
  • Kent County Council services including the Attendance Service, Admissions and Health Service
  • Other Local Authorities
  • Children's Centres
  • Statutory and Voluntary Agencies
  • Members of the public.

All children you have given a start date to attend your school or academy, must be put on roll on the expected start date, even if they fail to attend.

The referral process and regular data submission
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  1. Children on roll at a school but missing education: If a child is on a school roll (has a school place), but not attending school and the school's enquiries have failed to establish the child's whereabouts or confirmed an onward destination.
    1. Please use the Digital Front Door to make a referral to the Area Inclusion and Attendance Team.
    2. Here is the KCC CME referral guide. (PDF, 19.2 KB)
    3. Under the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006, section 5 paragraph 3 'the pupil is a pupil at the school from the beginning of the first day on which the school has agreed, or has been notified, that the pupil will attend the school.
  2. All children that have been offered a start date to attend your school/academy, must be put on roll on the expected start date, even if they fail to attend.

    1. If a child is offered a school place and does not arrive on the agreed start date and the school’s enquiries has failed to establish the child’s whereabouts, then please notify KCC by using the Digital Front Door.
    2. If the child is leaving your school at point of transition but doesn’t have a confirmed destination, then please notify KCC by using the Digital Front Door.
  3. Children without a school place: If a school or an agency has identified a child not being on roll, they must notify KCC using the Digital Front Door.

Regular Data Submission
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Apart from referring a CME case for LA interventions, all schools are required to periodically report to Kent LA any children who do not attend regularly or have 10 days or more continued unauthorised absences. A list of this cohort and their attendance levels should be submitted to the Area Inclusion and Attendance Team at the end of each school term, three times a year. These are not individual referrals for LA interventions but regular submission of attendance information at agreed intervals, as required by Pupils Registration Regulations 2006 and Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016. Termly Submission Form.

Contact us
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For further details contact the PRU, Inclusion and Attendance service.