Children missing education (CME): procedures and policies

Find out about the statutory requirements for school procedures on children absent from education and children missing education (CME), including monitoring attendance, updating admission registers and making reasonable enquiries about a child's whereabouts. See CME policies from primary, secondary and special schools.

Last reviewed on 13 November 2023See updates
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  1. Understand your attendance and registration requirements
  2. Keep your admission register accurate and up to date
  3. Understand your duty to share information about non-standard transitions
  4. Make 'reasonable enquiries' for pupils who aren't attending
  5. Know the pupils who are most at risk of going missing from education 
  6. You don't need a CME policy, but staff need to know about your CME procedures 
  7. See examples of policies from schools 
  8. Save time and stay compliant with The Key Safeguarding

The information in this article comes from guidance for local authorities (LAs) and schools on Children Missing Education (CME) and Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) 2023

Understand your attendance and registration requirements

Know and follow your LA's procedures

This is because your LA has a legal responsibility to:

  • Identify any pupil who is of compulsory school age and not receiving education
  • Get these pupils back into education

Monitor attendance through your daily register

You must:

  • Enter pupils on the register every day that the school has agreed or been notified that the pupil will attend
  • Address poor or irregular attendance
  • Refer poor attendance to your LA (more on this below)
  • Investigate any unexplained absences as part of your wider safeguarding duties
  • Keep your admission register accurate and up to date

Fail to attend regularly Have missed 10 schools days

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