Child Missing in Education Statement
(to be read in conjunction with attendance policy)
Schools must enter pupils on the admission register at the beginning of the first day on which the school has agreed, or been notified, that the pupil will attend the school. If a pupil fails to attend on the agreed or notified date, the school should undertake reasonable enquiries to establish the child’s whereabouts and consider notifying the local authority at the earliest opportunity.
Schools must monitor pupils’ attendance through their daily register. Schools should agree with their local authority the intervals at which they will inform local authorities of the details of pupils who fail to attend regularly, or have missed ten school days or more without permission. Schools should monitor attendance closely and address poor or irregular attendance. It is important that pupils’ poor attendance is referred to the local authority.
Where a pupil has not returned to school for ten days after an authorised absence or is absent from school without authorisation for twenty consecutive school days, the pupil can be removed from the admission register when the school and the local authority have failed, after jointly making reasonable enquiries, to establish the whereabouts of the child. This only applies if the school does not have reasonable grounds to believe that the pupil is unable to attend because of sickness or unavoidable cause.
Schools must also arrange full-time education for excluded pupils from the sixth school day of a fixed period exclusion. This information can be found in the Exclusion from maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units in England statutory guidance.
Maintained schools have a safeguarding duty in respect of their pupils, and as part of this should investigate any unexplained absences. Academies and independent schools have a similar safeguarding duty for their pupils. Further information about schools’ safeguarding responsibilities can be found in the Keeping children safe in education statutory guidance.
Melton’s Internal Arrangements include:
Half-termly attendance reviews
Termly EWO visits
Daily checks of all registers
First Day calling
Weekly class attendance awards
Weekly 100% class attendance awards
Termly Reward for 100% attendance
School support and intervention for any pupil/ family where a pupils’ attendance rate drops below 90%
School monitoring for any pupil/ family where a pupils’ attendance rate drops below 95%
Recording information in the school’s admission register
It is important that the school’s admission register is accurate and kept up to date. Schools should regularly encourage parents to inform them of any changes whenever they occur, through using existing communication channels such as regular emails and newsletters. This will assist both the school and local authority when making enquiries to locate children missing education.
Where a parent notifies a school that a pupil will live at another address, all schools are required to record in the admission register:
- the full name of the parent with whom the pupil will live;
- the new address;
- the date from when it is expected the pupil will live at this address.
Where a parent of a pupil notifies the school that the pupil is registered at another school or will be attending a different school in future, schools must record in the admission register:
- the name of the new school;
- the date when the pupil first attended or is due to start attending that school. Sharing information with the local authority.
Sharing information with the local authority
Schools must notify the local authority when a pupil’s name is to be removed from the admission register at a non-standard transition point under any of the fifteen grounds set out in the regulations, as soon as the ground for removal is met and no later than the time at which the pupil’s name is removed from the register. This duty does not apply at standard transition points – where the pupil has completed the school’s final year – unless the local authority requests for such information to be provided.
Where a school notifies a local authority that a pupil’s name is to be removed from the admission register, the school must provide the local authority with:
- the full name of the pupil;
- the full name and address of any parent with whom the pupil lives;
- at least one telephone number of the parent with whom the pupil lives;
- the full name and address of the parent who the pupil is going to live with, and the date the pupil is expected to start living there, if applicable;
- the name of pupil’s destination school and the pupil’s expected start date there, if applicable;
- the ground in regulation 8 under which the pupil’s name is to be removed from the admission register.
All schools are required to notify the local authority within five days when a pupil’s name is added to the admission register at a non-standard transition point. Schools will need to provide the local authority with all the information held within the admission register about the pupil. This duty does not apply when a pupil’s name is entered in the admission register at a standard transition point – at the start of the first year of education normally provided by that school – unless the local authority requests for such information to be provided.
Providing information on standard transitions
Schools are under an automatic duty to provide information to the local authority for non-standard transitions. This relates to pupils removed from the admission register before completing the final year of education normally provided by the school, or pupils added to the admission register after the start of the first year of education normally provided by that school.
Schools are also only under a duty to provide information to the local authority for standard transitions if a local authority requests that schools make such returns. This relates to pupils removed from the school’s admission register after the pupil has completed the final year of education normally provided by the school, or pupils added to the admission register at the start of the first year of education normally provided by the school. For the majority of pupils, a standard transition occurs when a pupil moves between a primary and secondary school, but this can also include other types of schools including where pupils move between infant and junior schools and in local areas with three-tier education systems with first, middle and high schools.
In a small number of cases, pupils removed from the admission register in one school would be a standard transition but their transfer to another school would be a non-standard transition and vice-versa. For example, a pupil leaving a primary school at the end of Year 2 is a non-standard transition, but their transfer to a junior school at the beginning of Year 3 is a standard transition. In such cases, only the school where the non-standard transition occurs is under an automatic duty to notify the local authority. The local authority would need to make a request for the information from the other school, if they required information on the standard transition.
There is no expectation for local authorities to request information from schools on pupils for standard transitions. Local authorities should consider carefully the benefits of having this information in meeting their duties in relation to children missing education and safeguarding, and assess the likely burden on schools and the local authority before deciding to do so.
If local authorities decide to request information on pupils for standard transitions, it should be made clear to schools that they are therefore under a duty to make such notifications. Local authorities should also establish a clear and efficient procedure for this, and communicate the procedure to schools in their area.
Making reasonable enquiries
The term ‘reasonable enquiries’ grants schools and local authorities a degree of flexibility in decision-making, particularly as the steps that need to be taken in a given case will vary. The term ‘reasonable’ also makes clear that there is a limit to what the school and local authority is expected to do.
In line with the duty under section 10 of the Children Act 2004, the expectation is that the school and the local authority will have in place procedures designed to carry out reasonable enquiries. The type of procedures may include the appropriate person checking with relatives, neighbours, landlords – private or social housing providers – and other local stakeholders who are involved. They should also record that they have completed these procedures. If there is reason to believe a child is in immediate danger or at risk of harm, a referral should be made to children’s social care (and the police if appropriate).
A pupil’s name can only be removed from the admission register if the school and the local authority have failed to establish the pupil’s whereabouts after jointly making reasonable enquiries. Local authorities and schools should agree roles and responsibilities locally in relation to making joint enquiries.
As set out in Working Together to Safeguard Children statutory guidance, the Local Safeguarding Children Board should agree with the local authority and its partners a threshold document, which includes the criteria for when a case should be referred to local authority children’s social care for assessment and for statutory services. In addition, local authorities, with their partners, should develop and publish local protocols for assessment, which set out clear arrangements for how cases will be managed once a child is referred into local authority children’s social care.
At Melton, if a child is not in school by 9.30 and we have not been advised of the absence, we will begin investigations/internal arrangements until we are assured that that child is safe.