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1.6.1 Children Missing from Education

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

Redbridge recognises that children missing from education (CME) comprise a group of extremely vulnerable young people often with very distinct and complex needs.

In response, the following procedures have been developed as guidance for all professionals working with children and families in Redbridge, including statutory and voluntary groups, partner agencies, and the general public. It will:

  1. Define Children Missing Education (CME);
  2. Explain how and who to notify if you suspect a child is missing education;
  3. Explain how children are monitored until re engaged in education.

This procedure allows anyone concerned to share information for the purpose of identifying, assessing and re engaging children and young people missing education. It incorporates guidance issued to Local Authorities in England under the Education and Inspections Act 2006 (part 1 sec 4) to identify children of statutory school age not receiving an education, and HM government guidance received 2009. Lord Laming's report (2003) also recommended the need for all front line staff in all agencies that regularly come into contact with children and families, to take basic details. This includes the name of the school for school aged children. Any gaps in such information should be passed to the relevant authority (Para 17.97).

Young people have a higher risk of becoming missing from education when they move across local authority boundaries, and certain life events make some children more vulnerable to missing education, examples include:

  • Young people returning from secure accommodation;
  • Young carers;
  • Children living in temporary accommodation;
  • Children from Asylum seeking or Refugee families;
  • Pupils with long term medical needs;
  • Student Parents;
  • Children Looked After;
  • Children from Gypsy Roma or Traveller backgrounds.

These young people are often from highly mobile families and not only have the potential to be missing from education; they may also not have easy access to safeguarding procedures, or adequate health care. As a result there is an expectation that all agencies will subscribe to this document to ensure the education and well being of this group. However it does not replace child protection procedure. The London Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures 5th Edition and Pan London Procedures for Young People Missing from Care and Home are the relevant policies that should be referred to. Safeguarding measures are to be observed at all times.

Redbridge Children’s Services has a Children Missing in Education Protocol which should also be consulted.

The DfE have also produced statutory guidance on Children Missing in Education.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in February 2016 when the link to the Children Missing Education Protocol was added.


Contents

1. Introduction
2. Definitions
  2.1 Children Missing Education (CME)
  2.2 Children Missing from Home or Public Care
  2.3 Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Children
  2.4 Specialist Workers
3. Referral Pathway for Child Missing Education
  3.1 Young People Leaving Redbridge
  3.2 Young People Missing Education in Redbridge
  3.3 Child Protection/Safeguarding
  3.4 Safeguarding Young People who may have been Trafficked
  3.5 Forced Marriage
4. Destination Unconfirmed Students (DUCS)
5. Services that Support Children and Young People
  5.1 Education Welfare Service
  5.2 Children Living Away from Home (CLAFH)
  5.3 Youth Offending Service
  5.4 Specialist Practitioner for Families in Temporary Accommodation (Health)
  5.5 Traveller Education
  5.6 Teenage Pregnancy Midwives
  5.7 Connexions
  5.8 Redbridge Tuition Service (RTS)
  5.9 Redbridge Admissions and Awards Team
  5.10 Elective Home Education
  Appendix A: Redbridge Education Welfare Service Procedures for Children Missing from School
  Appendix B: Movement of Children Referral Form
  Appendix C: Children Leaving a Redbridge School Without a Destination
  Appendix D: Child in Area Believed to be Missing Education


1. Introduction

Young people can be out of the education system for a range of reasons, for example because they:

  • Have not been enrolled for Education;
  • Have been withdrawn by the parent/carer from the education system; 
  • Fail to transfer between statutory education Key stages;
  • Fail to access provision when moving to a new area; 
  • Belong to a mobile or transient population;
  • Leave an educational provision without a confirmed destination.

The Local Authority has a duty to investigate cases of Children missing Education in accordance with:

  • Education and Inspections Act 2006
    S436A Chapter 2, part 6 of the Education Act 1996 (school attendance) as amended;
  • Revised Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities in England to Identify Children
    Not Receiving an Education (DCSF 2009);
  • The Children Act 2004.  S11 and The Education Act 2002 S175
    Local Authority duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
  • The Children Act 1989, S27. A Local Authority may request help from any other Local Authority and/or any other agency in exercising their duty to provide support and services to Children in need and that Local Authority Officers have a duty to gather information regarding concerns.


2. Definitions

2.1 Children Missing Education (CME)

This procedure defines CME as:

“All children of compulsory school age who are not on a school roll, nor being educated otherwise (e.g. privately or in alternative provision) and who have been out of education for a substantial period of time.”

This includes:

  1. Young people who, previously known to Redbridge Children’s Services, have moved away from their last known address, with their destination unconfirmed or unknown, including those young people alleged to have moved abroad either to live or study; 
  2. Young people known to be in the area and not on a school roll or believed to be missing education.

This does not include young people registered at a Redbridge education provision with poor attendance. The Education Welfare Service works with young people under these circumstances.  

2.2 Children Missing from Home or Public Care

Young People who have absconded from home or local authority care are not covered by CME procedure. Redbridge has adopted pan London procedures for dealing with young people in this situation.

2.3 Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Children

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children are supported by this procedure until entering an education provision. Following this, the admitting school caters for all aspects of their education in liaison, where necessary, with the school’s Education Welfare Officer, The Advisory Teacher for Traveller Education and/or other agencies

2.4 Specialist Workers

To limit the possibility of young people opting out of education, Redbridge has a Vulnerable Children’s Officer and an Information Officer for Children Missing Education. If you wish to discuss any aspect of CME please contact them by phoning 0208 506 5268 or emailing  peter.barclay@redbridge.gov.uk or chris.truelove@redbridge.gov.uk

Based within the Education Welfare Service, these specialist workers are responsible for offering guidance to schools and other agencies to ensure information regarding children missing from education is shared and acted upon speedily. This process includes:

  • Maintaining databases of young people that may currently not be on a school roll;
  • Support for young people missing statutory education to re engage with appropriate provision;
  • Multi agency collaboration and consultation;
  • Support for professionals to identify young people at risk of missing education;
  • Ensuring all agencies are aware of the referral pathway process.

All young people identified are monitored and tracked until:

  • Confirmation is received they are on a school roll, or receiving alternative education; or
  • Confirmation is received they have reached a destination outside Redbridge Local Authority (including outside the UK) and are receiving a suitable education.


3. Referral Pathway for Child Missing Education

3.1 Young People Leaving Redbridge

All school staff have a duty to identify any young person leaving a Redbridge maintained mainstream, special school or Education Other Than At School (EOTAS) provision with no confirmed forwarding address, destination or education. They must liaise with their Education Welfare Officer (EWO) who will advise the school how to proceed where necessary, and make enquiries using the Education Welfare Procedures for Children Missing From School (See Appendix A: Redbridge Education Welfare Service Procedures for Children Missing from School).

Cases when a forwarding address or education provision has been named but not confirmed must also be referred unless the EWO or school has had contact with the new provision and can confirm that the placement is stable.

Where the pupil’s details cannot be confirmed as above, the EWO will complete a Movement of Children Referral form (see Appendix B: Movement of Children Referral Form) stating clearly where the young person is believed to be living and return this electronically to The Information Officer for CME (chris.truelove@redbridge.gov.uk).

All efforts to trace the pupil are recorded centrally. This allows information to be recorded on CME databases, and onward referral to the new home authority (where this is known). The specialist workers can then monitor the safe arrival in the named destination and confirm the take up of education, limiting the opportunity for young people to go missing between education provisions.   All young people are monitored until they are confirmed on roll at a school/ education provision or in receipt of suitable education according to their age ability and regard for any special educational need at the new destination (see Appendix C: Children Leaving a Redbridge School Without a Destination).

In circumstances where the young person has not been on a Redbridge maintained school roll, referrals should be made by any agency or individual in contact with them using a Movement of Children Referral form returned to the Information Officer for CME.

If the pupil(s) destination cannot be confirmed the specialist workers will make further enquiries. This next stage can include liaison with local authority’s and partner agencies nationally, as well as the Police, benefit agencies, immigration and national border agencies and/or their counterparts abroad if felt necessary. This process continues until satisfactory confirmation is received the young person is on roll at an education provision in the UK or abroad.

3.2 Young People Missing Education in Redbridge

When a young person resident in Redbridge is believed to be CME, any authority

department, partner agency, external source or individual in contact with them should refer using the Movement of Children Referral Form (see Appendix B: Movement of Children Referral Form) sent electronically to the Information Officer for CME. See Appendix D: Child in Area Believed to be Missing Education.

Members of the public may also visit the One Stop Shop at Lynton House, 255 High Road, Ilford, Essex, IG1 1NN and discuss the matter with a customer representative who may then notify CME officers by email.

When a young person missing education is confirmed resident in Redbridge, the family will be contacted to determine whether support is needed. If so the specialist workers role is to support the parent/carer to access most appropriate education placement. If the parent/carer expresses a wish for elective home education, they will be referred to the Team leader of the Admissions and Awards section.

When it appears a mainstream school place may not be indicated, the specialist workers will signpost the parent/carer to the relevant departments if necessary.

Failure to Engage

Where the family of a young person fails to engage or co operate, Redbridge Children’s Services could consider instigating legal proceedings.

3.3 Child Protection/Safeguarding

When a young person leaves Redbridge and it is known they or, a member of their family, have an allocated key worker (Redbridge or otherwise) this person will be  considered the lead professional. They will be responsible for liaising with CME officers regarding any information about the young persons’ whereabouts and education or for making further enquiries by contacting their colleagues and/or the police within the UK or abroad if necessary. When there is no allocated key worker or lead professional, and there are safeguarding concerns, the vulnerable children's specialist workers will make every effort to contact social care colleagues in the alleged destination

If a young person cannot be confirmed resident in Redbridge and the referral suggests serious safeguarding concerns, after consultation with a member of Children and Families Service Senior Management, the Police may be contacted for assistance. If appropriate, the family may be reported as missing. 

3.4 Safeguarding Young People who may have been Trafficked

If there are serious concerns following initial investigation, cases of potential trafficking will be discussed with Children’s Services senior management who may then refer the matter to social care colleagues and/or the police as appropriate.

This document does not replace child protection procedure. Until superseded or revised the London Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures 5th Edition and Pan London Procedures for Young People Missing from Care and Home are the relevant policies that should be referred to. Safeguarding measures are to be observed at all times.

3.5 Forced Marriage

Forced marriage is where someone is forced to marry someone against their will and is completely different to arranged marriage where both bride and groom consent to marrying each other.

CME procedures do not cover cases of forced marriage. However if a young person in Redbridge discloses that they are being forced into marriage, their concerns should be taken seriously and referrals made immediately as appropriate.

Redbridge Child Protection and Assessment Team
Tel: 0208 708 3885

Foreign & Commonwealth Office Forced Marriage Unit (9-5 Mon-Fri)
Tel: 0207 008 0151

FCO Global Response Centre (Out of hours emergencies)
Tel: 0207 008 0151
Email: fmu@fco.gov.uk
Website: www.gov.uk/stop-forced-marriage

For more information see the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007.


4. Destination Unconfirmed Students (DUCS)

All cases of Children Missing Education are monitored until confirmation is received the young person is on roll at a school/alternative provision or are receiving a suitable education according to their age ability and regard for any special educational need at the new destination. 

After all enquiries have been exhausted, if the young persons’ whereabouts remain unknown the referrer will be informed (where requested) and the case will be recorded as closed.  

In all cases the names and details of young people not located are notified to the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board via the Education Welfare Service Manager.


5. Services that Support Children and Young People

5.1 Education Welfare Service

The Education Welfare Service works with children and families to support and maintain good attendance at school. 

Each school or education provision has an allocated Education Welfare Officer who will be the first point of contact when a child goes missing from school. Redbridge Education Welfare Service is also responsible for making sure parent/carers carry out their legal obligation to ensure their child receives an education, according to the Education Act (1996). Failing this the matter could be referred to Redbridge Magistrates’ court.

5.2 Children Living Away from Home (CLAFH)

Each young person living away from home by arrangement with the Local Authority has access to a range of support including a named key worker from the Children Living Away from Home Team.  Redbridge Children Living Away Support Service includes specialist teachers and an Education Welfare Officer who deal specifically with education for  Children Looked After. The Local Authority also has a duty to monitor young people living in private foster arrangements (for 28 days or more with someone who isn’t a parent or relative) it is the carer's responsibility to notify the Local Authority of this arrangement - it is a criminal offence not to do so.

5.3 Youth Offending Service

Young people who have committed offences are referred to the Youth Offending Service, and assigned a key worker. Their role is to support the young person through the duration of a tailored programme to address offending behaviour including court directed orders. The Youth Offending Service also has a named education worker who specifically deals with monitoring the education of young people referred there.   

5.4 Specialist Practitioner for Families in Temporary Accommodation (Health)

It is recognised that highly mobile children and families are subject to a range of disadvantage in relation to their health and development. 

It is the role of the specialist practitioner for families in temporary accommodation to support families with children up to the age of 19 years. S/he receives referrals and liases with other professionals working with these children and their families including Education Welfare Officers 

Families placed in Redbridge by other London Boroughs, are alerted to the specialist worker through the “Notify” system. All of these families are offered a home visit and an assessment is carried out. If children are found not attending school, s/he liases with the children’s services’ Vulnerable Children's Officer. 

5.5 Traveller Education

The Advisory Teacher for Traveller Education, based within the School improvement team, supports the education of Traveller children and their families by advising schools on curriculum and inclusion matters, and by liasing between families and education.

5.6 Teenage Pregnancy Midwives

The teenage pregnancy midwives are specifically trained and skilled in working with young mothers in this age range. They support young women who conceive while in statutory education in Redbridge during and after delivery of their baby. Redbridge has an education reintegration policy for teenage parents including tailored support. More information is available on the Redbridge i website following the links to care and health/health/teenage pregnancy and on the Young People Friendly website.

5.7 Connexions

Working directly with young people and their parent/carers, personal advisors can offer information, advice and guidance for 13-19 year olds on a range of topics including further education, training, health, activities, and homelessness. They are also able to support young people with learning difficulties or disabilities with their ambitions. 

5.8 Redbridge Tuition Service (RTS)

RTS work with young people who are not engaged with mainstream provision (for a variety of reasons) The tuition service also works with Children prevented from attending school through serious long-term illness, usually in their homes.

5.9 Redbridge Admissions and Awards Team

The Admission and Awards team, manage school applications for all Redbridge residents. To apply for school, visit the Local Authority’s one stop shop at Lynton House, 255 High Road, Ilford, Essex, IG1 1NN. A customer service representative can assist with the application form. Information on admissions is available on the Redbridge i website following the links to children and schools/schools support information/application and admissions.

5.10 Elective Home Education

If a parent intends to educate their child at home, the law requires they must inform the school their child is leaving. The Local Authority will ask their elective home education support officer to visit and ensure the education being provided is suitable to meet the child’s individual requirements according to his/her age ability and with regard to any special educational need. Information is also available at www.redbridge.gov.uk following the link to children and schools/schools/home schooling.


Appendix A: Redbridge Education Welfare Service Procedures for Children Missing from School

When a registered pupil:

  • Leaves a Redbridge school with no confirmed destination, address, or Education Provision;
  • Fails to attend school for more than 20 days without explanation;
  • Fails to return from a notified leave of absence.

They could be missing, or considered missing education and the following actions should be taken in conjunction with the Local Authority Attendance strategy:

The School should: (within the first 20 days of absence):

  • Contact the allocated key worker or lead professional if the family are known to have one.  Where the young person (or siblings) is known to be the subject of a child protection plan, this must happen immediately if there is no response to first day contact. The School’s allocated Education Welfare Officer must also be alerted;
  • Make initial enquiries by telephoning the family or any other designated emergency contact number available to them;
  • Send a letter to the family’s last known address requesting contact and confirmation of the Young Person’s whereabouts if phone numbers are unavailable;
  • Refer to the Education Welfare Officer for further investigation if there is no response or the response is felt to be unsatisfactory/needs to be confirmed.

The Education Welfare Officer will:

Work closely with the education provision and establish enquiries to locate the Young Person(s) including:

  • Confirming the school has made every effort to locate the child;
  • Check databases for possible change of address;
  • Contact siblings school (if applicable) for further information;
  • Visit the family home or last known address;
  • Follow up any possible routes of investigation provided by local knowledge.

Each action and outcome must be recorded on Tribal pupil support system (PSS) for each child/family group.

When Enquiries Confirms the Pupil on Roll at a New School

The Local Authority requires all maintained schools to update their Management Information System (MIS) as soon as the child is removed from roll. The leaving date and the new school name should be indicated in the releasing schools MIS system. An electronic Common Transfer File (CTF) of the pupil’s school records should be generated and sent to the new school within 15 days via the School to School (s2s) secure transfer web site. If the new school is in the independent sector or in Scotland the CTF should be coded MMMMMMM and uploaded on the s2s secure transfer site. Such cases where the place is confirmed as stable, do not need referring to the Vulnerable Children's Officer as the young person can be accounted for from the time s/he left the Redbridge School until confirmed on roll at the new school.

When it is Apparent the Family are not known at the Last Address Given

If enquiries provide no new information, or the pupil cannot be confirmed on roll at a school/ education provision or in receipt of suitable education according to their age ability and regard for any special educational need.

The Education Welfare Officer Must

  • Advise the school to remove the child from roll after no more than 20 days absence without explanation following enquiries, except in the case of Children Looked After who should be referred to the relevant lead professional for advice;
  • Advise the discharging school to create a CTF coded XXXXXXX (destination unknown) and upload to s2s where it will be stored in the Lost Pupil Database;
  • Clearly Record all actions taken, and efforts to trace on PSS;
  • Enter a closed event on PSS;
  • Email Movement of Children form for each young person/family group to the Information Officer for CME (chris.truelove@redbridge.gov.uk). Copies of any correspondence sent or received must be attached or sent to:

    Chris Truelove CRC,
    Ray Lodge,
    91 Ray Lodge Road,
    Woodford Green,
    Essex.
    IG8 7PG.

The Vulnerable Children's Officer and Information Officer for CME will:

  • Record young person's details on Children Missing Education database;
  • Refer onward to Local Authority, where this is known or suspected;  
  • Endeavour to make further enquiries either in the UK or abroad;
  • Monitor and reconcile movements for recording and reporting purposes.

This allows the specialist workers to monitor the pupil until their safe arrival in the named destination and confirm the take up of education. See also Appendix C: Children Leaving a Redbridge School Without a Destination.

Cases when a forwarding address or education provision has been named must also be referred to the specialist workers. Unless the Education Welfare Officer or the School has had contact with a new education provision to establish the young person on roll and confirm this placement is stable. 

Regulation 8 of the Education (Pupil Registration)(England) Regulations 2006 prescribes the grounds on which the name of a pupil of compulsory school age can be deleted from the admission register. When a pupil is deleted from the admission register the school must clearly indicate the date and the reason for removal from roll.


Appendix B: Movement of Children Referral Form

Click here to view Movement of Children Referral Form


Appendix C: Children Leaving a Redbridge School Without a Destination

Click here to view Children Leaving a Redbridge School Without a Destination


Appendix D: Child in Area Believed to be Missing Education

Click here to view Child in Area Believed to be Missing Education

End