Children missing from education

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

A child missing from education is:

  • between the compulsory school age of 5 to 16 years old
  • not registered on a school roll
  • not attending an alternate education provision

A child may be missing from education because:

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

A child is not missing from education when:

  • registered on a school roll, but are recorded as unauthorised attendance
  • being Electively Home Educated (EHE)
  • attending an alternative educational provision, such as a pupil referral unit (PRU)

Reporting a child missing education (CME)

If you think a child is missing from education, please tell us about it by completing this CME Reporting Template form (Word, 16KB) and emailing it to or call the CME team on the general CME number at 01473 265224. A voicemail facility is available.

Out of hours

Outside of these hours, please complete the CME Reporting Template form (Word, 16KB) and email to

Please be aware that we will investigate your concerns, take the appropriate action and if necessary, share any relevant information with the appropriate Suffolk County Council Team(s). It is not possible to provide you with any updates or information.

Children Missing In Education Documents

Suffolk Child Missing In Education Protocol 2021.pdf .pdf