You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience and security.

Safeguarding: Children Missing Education and Missing Children

Children Missing Education and Missing Children

Children Missing Education (CME) refers to all children who are of compulsory school age (September following their 5th birthday), who are not on a school roll, or 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.

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
  • They have difficult personal circumstances (e.g. if family is homeless and they are living in temporary accommodation or refuge, if there are long term medical or emotional problems).

Repeatedly going missing from home or education may also be a warning sign of a range of significant safeguarding concerns and early intervention is key to identifying any underlying risk.


If you are aware that a child in your child in your care is missing education, you should follow your safeguarding procedures and notify the local authority.

Click here for more information on Kent's procedures and notification form.

Additional guidance and resources about children who run away or go missing from home or care: