Children Missing in Education

Children Missing Education – Information for Schools

The reasons why a child is missing from education and what you can do next.

A child missing education is:

  • between the compulsory school age of 5 to 16 years old.
  • not registered on a school register.
  • not attending an alternate education provision.
  • not being electively home educated (EHE).

A child may be missing from education because:

  • they failed to start in Reception Year at a school.
  • they did not move from one school to another, for example, when moved to/from another Local Authority area/district.
  • they failed to transfer into a secondary school.
  • they have been permanently excluded from school.
  • they have failed to register in a school after travelling/living outside the UK.
  • their parent(s) are military personnel.
  • they are part of a travelling community.

A child is not missing education when:

If you have a safeguarding concern regarding a child please visit our Safeguarding guidance page.

How to make a safeguarding referral

CME referral

All schools in Suffolk must complete a CME Referral form when:

  • an ‘in-year pupil’ is starting at your school.
  • an ‘in-year pupil’ is leaving your school.
  • The parent/carer advises in writing, (or by email), that the pupil will be home educated and the date the home education began. This is called the de-registration letter and must be received by the school before the pupil is removed from the school register and the CME Referral is made. The EHE Form 1 must also be completed by the school, (for a child living in Suffolk). The de-registration letter/email and the EHE Form 1 must be sent directly to the EHE team via email: [email protected].
  • NB An ‘in-year pupil’ means any pupil starting or leaving school, otherwise than at the beginning/end of the academic year, in the ‘normal transfer year groups’, for the school.

For example, any pupil starting or leaving school in any year group, (i.e., not at the start or end of the ‘normal transfer year group’; school will need to submit the relevant CME referral via the CME Schools Portal.)

For example, a pupil starting on 1 September in the Reception Year or in Year 7 would be starting in the ‘normal transfer year group’ of the school, (Primary or Secondary school) and therefore a CME Referral would not be required for these pupils.

For example, a pupil leaving at the end of Year 6 or Year 11 (in a Primary or Secondary school), would be leaving at the end of the ‘normal transfer year group’ of the school, (Primary or Secondary school) and therefore a CME Referral would not be required for these pupils.


NB If you think that a pupil removal under Pupil Regulations, Codes K or N apply, or if you are unsure if you should be removing the pupil, please contact the CME Team before removing a pupil from the school roll and before making the CME Referral. (Contact details are located at the bottom of this page.)

Please note that you do not need any registration details, a log on, PIN, or a password to use the CME Schools Portal.

The CME Team will only accept CME Referrals submitted via the CME Schools Portal.

NB For any CME Referral refusals, the CME Team will email the school and state why the referral has been refused and under what circumstance, according to the Pupil Regulations 8.1, or if the pupil is suspected of being removed unlawfully. The school should then immediately re-place the pupil’s name back onto their school register. The CME Team will challenge schools when suspected of ‘off-rolling’ a pupil, which can be an unlawful practice and is part of Ofsted considerations.

The Ofsted definition of ‘off-rolling’ is below:

Off-rolling is the practice of removing a pupil from the school roll without using a permanent exclusion, when the removal is primarily in the best interests of the school, rather than in the best interests of the pupil. This includes pressuring a parent to remove their child from the school roll.

While it may not always be unlawful, Ofsted believes off-rolling is never acceptable.

Contact details:

Email: [email protected]

CME General Telephone No: 01473 265224.