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2.3.2 Children Missing from Education

RELEVANT GUIDANCE AND LEGISLATION

Keeping children safe in education Statutory guidance for schools and colleges

Statutory guidance for local authorities: Children missing education (September 2016)

The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006, as amended (Education law regarding pupil registration where a child is on a school role): The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013

The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2016

RELEVANT CHAPTER

Safeguarding Children and Young People from Sexual Exploitation

AMENDMENT

In June 2017, a link was added to the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 in the Relevant Guidance and Legislation section.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Definitions
  3. Reasons why Children are Missing Education
  4. Migrant Worker and Asylum Children
  5. Process for Children Missing Education
  6. Rotherham School Admissions and Transfers
  7. Moving to Rotherham
  8. Information for Schools
  9. The Process of Referral and Removal from Roll of Children Missing Education
  10. The s2s and Lost Pupil Database
  11. Movement of Children
  12. Rotherham Children Missing from Education Process Flowchart
  13. Working with Key Stakeholders
  14. Information Sharing
  15. Notification and Referral
  16. Rotherham Children Missing Education Process
  17. Monitoring and Review
  18. Relevant Legislation
  19. Deletions from the School Attendance and Admissions Register
  20. Other Educational Provision

    Appendix A - Children Missing from Education Admin and Case Studies

    Appendix B - Referral/Fair Access


1. Introduction

The Children and Young People's Service is committed to ensuring that all children living in Rotherham are given the opportunity to achieve the 5 core outcomes identified in the Children Act 2004:

  • Being Healthy;
  • Staying Safe;
  • Enjoying and Achieving;
  • Making a Positive Contribution;
  • Achieving Economic Wellbeing.

The Education and Inspections Act 2006 places a duty on all Local Authorities to make arrangements to identify Children Missing from Education in their area; in addition the Secretary of State issues further guidance in 2009. Local Authorities have a statutory duty to have regard to this guidance.

The duty applies to all children and young people of compulsory school age who are not on a school roll and who are not receiving a suitable education otherwise than at school. This includes children and young people who are educated at home, in private education or in alternative education provision. It does not apply to children and young people who are registered at a school but failing to attend. The duty to identify children missing from education reinforces existing duties placed upon schools to monitor attendance for pupils registered at their school.

'If a child or young person is receiving an education, not only do they have the opportunity to fulfil their potential, but they are also in an environment that enables local agencies to safeguard and promote their welfare. If a child goes missing from education they could be at risk of Significant Harm.'

This policy sets out how the Local Authority and partner agencies will ensure that all children and young people who are deemed to be missing from or at risk of going missing from education are identified and tracked.

This policy does not replace any Child Protection Procedures. All existing procedures and reporting, referral and recording mechanisms in relation to child protection must be followed at all times.

All Local Authorities must have : 'A named individual responsible for receiving information about children of compulsory school age in their area who may no be receiving a suitable education at school or otherwise...' 

The Children Missing Education Officer is also responsible to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of the notification and referral process for children who are missing education.

All Local Authorities, through their Children's Trust, must have robust measures in place both to identify quickly when a child or young person is not receiving a suitable education, and to follow through with effective tracking and enquiry systems.


2. Definitions

Government guidance defines Children Missing from Education as 'A compulsory school age child, who are neither on a school roll, not placed in alternative provision by the Local Authority and who is not receiving a suitable education at home.'

A child or young person will also be deemed as missing from education:

  • If they move out of the area without providing the name of a receiving school;

    or
  • If they move into the area without a school place.


3. Reasons why Children are Missing from Education

There are a number of reasons why a child or young person ceases to engage with or goes missing from education, below are some examples. This is by no means an exhaustive list.

  • Failure to start appropriate provision and therefore never enter the educational system (children who leave a pre-school provider but give no destination school may be particularly difficult to locate owing to the fact that they are not of statutory school age);
  • Cease to attend educational provision for example exclusion or withdrawal from school;
  • Fail to complete transition between phases of education e.g. KS1 to KS 2 or to entry into Secondary school;
  • Are part of highly mobile families;
  • Personal reasons including disengagement on the part of pupils or parents.

In addition to the above there are groups of children/young people who are deemed to be vulnerable and therefore could be at increased risk of missing education. These include:

  • Young people who have committed or are victims of crime;
  • Children residing in refuge accommodation/victims of domestic violence and abuse;
  • Children of homeless families or living in temporary accommodation;
  • Children living in multi-occupancy housing;
  • Young runaways;
  • Unaccompanied asylum seeking children;
  • Children who have been trafficked into and around the UK;
  • Looked after children;
  • Children who are privately fostered;
  • Children with Gypsy, Roma or other Traveller backgrounds;
  • Young Carers;
  • Children from transient families;
  • Teenage parents;
  • Children who are officially or unofficially permanently excluded from school;
  • Children who are sexually exploited.


4. Migrant Worker and Asylum Children

In Rotherham we have significant numbers of EU migrant worker children. These families are highly transient, therefore comprehensive information, including accurate contact information, about the child and parent or guardian should be maintained for every child. Any Children Missing Education referral should include all information held about the child and parent/carer.


5. Process for Children Missing Education

Click here to view Process for Children Missing Education Flowchart.


6. Rotherham School Admissions and Transfers

Rotherham has a central admissions system. The Admissions and Transfers Department will monitor first admission, infant and junior transfer and junior to secondary transfers. Any child who does not arrive at the school where they are expected is missing education. Such children are referred to the Children Missing Education Officer at the earliest opportunity in order for the child to be located as soon as possible. Any child who does not arrive at the school where they are expected should be referred to the Education Welfare Service at the earliest opportunity in order for the child to be located as soon as possible. Should the enquiries of the Education Welfare Service not locate the child a referral should be made to the Children Missing Education Officer.

Where a request to move schools within Rotherham is made, an internal transfer, the child will remain on the roll of the original school until they start attending their new school.


7. Moving to Rotherham

Parents can apply for a place at the school of their choice. The place is either approved or refused. Every parent has the right of appeal where a refusal for a school place has occurred. If parents wish to lodge an appeal against this decision, contact should be made with the Admissions Department.

Where approval letters are sent, the parent is responsible for contacting the school to arrange an appointment for admission within three weeks of the receipt of the letter. Should no contact have been made schools should contact the Admissions Department within 6 weeks.

Once and admission meeting has taken place, an agreed start date will indicate the day on which the child is expected to start attending. This is the day on which the child's name is placed on the school roll. For more information see: 5 Keeping Pupil Registers, Guidance can be accessed at the Department for Education website.

Where a child has been refused a place at a Rotherham school and no appeal lodged, the child should be referred to the Children Missing Education Officer:

The Children Missing education Officer will then:

  • Write to the family for details of the educational provision arrangements;
  • If no response is received within 10 days, the Children Missing Education Officer will requests the Education Welfare Officer to visit the address;
  • Education Welfare Officer will support the family in securing educational provision which will include assisting with any appeal or necessary appointments.

The Children Missing Education Officer will liaise closely with the Admissions Department regarding places for children identified as missing education.

The protocols detailed in this police will help ensure that once a child or young person is identified as missing from education, suitable provision will be provided at the earliest opportunity. Rotherham has protocols in place for the admission of 'Hard to Place Pupils'. The 'In Year Fair Access Protocol', Appendix B - Referral/Fair Access should be applied consistently for these pupils.


8. Information for Schools

Schools have a duty to monitor attendance through registration and to inform the Local Authority where the attendance of an individual is causing concern, this involves a referral to the Education Welfare Officer for that school.

A child is at risk of missing education when:

  • The child fails to attend without explanation;
  • The child is expected to start at school but does not arrive;
  • The child does not return from a planned holiday (authorised or unauthorised);
  • The child leaves the authority without a destination.

If the school has been unable to contact the parent where the child is missing or at risk of going missing from education, the process of notification and referral should begin at the earliest opportunity. Referrals to the Children Missing Education Officer will only be accepted following the completion of both the school and the Education Welfare Service CME Referral Forms.

Please note that children will only be placed on the Out of School Register after 20 school days unauthorised absence, unless there is evidence to show the child is elsewhere (Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations 2006).

Children referred as Missing from Education should only be removed from the school roll on the advice of and following consultation with the Children Missing Education Officer.


9. The Process of Referral and Removal from Roll of Children Missing Education

  1. School will carry out initial checks and complete the Referral to the Out of School Register Form. Care should be taken to include ALL information held relating to contact, what checks and enquiries have been made, emergency telephone numbers and the last date the child attended school;
  2. This form once completed will be passed onto the Education Welfare Officer for the school, who will then begin further checks;
  3. If these checks fail to locate the child, the referral should be sent to the Children Missing Education Officer. Only when the checks have been completed will the pupil be removed from the school roll. See Department for Education website;
  4. Pupil will be tracked by the CME Officer once the pupil has been removed from the roll of the Rotherham school.

The Children Missing Education Officer will ensure that a letter is sent to the school confirming that the referral has been made and that the pupil's details are on the central database (One). The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006, as amended (Education law regarding pupil registration where a child is on a school role): The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 governs the transfer of information from school to school when a pupils changes schools.


10. The s2s and Lost Pupil Database

The School to School s2s website is a secure website which is operated by the DfE on behalf of all maintained and independent schools in England and Wales. It was set up to enable schools to post standardised data about individual pupils (such as assessment results and attendance) to the website, for retrieval by the pupil's new school or by a Local Authority. The specified format of this data is termed an electronic Common Transfer File (CTF) and is a statutory requirement on schools.

The file can be imported into the schools management information system and means that they do not have to input data they receive via the website, which in turn means improved efficiency, accuracy and speed of data transfer. THE CTF should be used both at the normal transfer time, and when pupils leave the school during the year, All schools administrators should have a password to use s2s; guidance on the use of s2s can be found on the Department for Education website.


11. Movement of Children

The number of pupils on any schools roll at any one time will vary. In Rotherham all schools are requested to report on pupil movement onto and off the school roll. This report should be submitted to the Children Missing Education Officer on the last Friday of every month.

This enables the CME Officer to ensure that any pupil who is removed from the roll of a school arrives at their intended school safe and well. The Movement of Children Form should clearly show the destination school and the destination address for all pupils removed from roll. Where parents have advised that the family is emigrating, information should be submitted to the CME Officer via the Movement of Children Form as these pupils are not classed as children missing education.

If a pupil leaves a school without a destination school identified, that pupil is deemed to be 'missing from education' and the referral procedures followed. This pupil should not be classed as a leaver on the Movement of Children Form.

The CME Officer is available to speak to schools about the process if there are any concerns for the pupil(s).

All Movement of Children Forms should be sent electronically to cme@rotherham.gov.uk. Paper copies should no longer be accepted. Only if a pupil has left or joined the school should a return be made.


12. Rotherham Children Missing from Education Process Flowchart

Click here to view the Rotherham Children Missing from Education Process Flowchart.


13. Working with Key Stakeholders

The Children Missing Education Officer will work in partnership with key stakeholders within Rotherham to ensure positive outcomes for children and young people. The continued development of inter agency work, information sharing and clear referral routes will ensure that every effort will be made to engage vulnerable children and young people.

Relevant Partner Agencies include:

  • Police;
  • UK Visa's and Immigration - Immigration Services;
  • Health - School Health, Accident and Emergency, GPs;
  • Housing and Homeless Organisations;
  • Voluntary and Community Groups;
  • Children's Social Care;
  • Schools and other educational establishments;
  • Connexions;
  • Youth Offending Services;
  • Other Local Authority services;
  • External Local Authorities;
  • Members of the Public.

The Children Missing Education Officer will ensue all key stakeholders are aware of the procedures for referral of children who are missing or at risk of going missing from education. Details of how to refer and contact details for Rotherham's Children Missing Education Officer can be found on the front of this document.

If a member of staff from any agency in Rotherham works with, or receives information about, a child who is not on the roll of a school or is not receiving any education, they should bring this to the attention of the Children Missing Education Officer. A referral form and information pack can be found at Appendix A - Children Missing from Education Admin and Case Studies.

Copies of this document will be made available on the Local Safeguarding Children Board Website.


14. Information Sharing

In order to effectively identify, track and engage children missing from education, it will be necessary to request from and share information with other agencies. Any information sharing will comply with legislation and guidance relating to confidentiality, data protection and human rights.

All Services offering support to vulnerable groups should be aware of the need to identify children missing from education and notify the Children Missing Education Officer accordingly. These services involve both Local Authority Services and voluntary services, and include:

  • Children's Social Care;
  • Connexions;
  • Education Psychology Service;
  • Elective Home Education;
  • Education Welfare Service;
  • Behaviour Support Service;
  • Health Services;
  • Women's Refuge;
  • Parent Partnership;
  • Choices and Options.

This list is not exhaustive, but is an example of services which link with the Children Missing Education Officer.

Any information sharing must comply with the law relating to confidentiality, data protection and human rights. The Local Authority should work within this legislative framework taking into account any local information sharing protocols.


15. Notification and Referral

It is important that staff in each agency are aware of referral procedures to the Children Missing Education Officer, should they believe that a child is missing from or at risk of going missing from education. A referral form (CME 1) is attached at Appendix B - Referral/Fair Access. The CME Officer can also be contacted by telephone on 01709 822482 for advice and support.

The CME Officer will receive all referrals and liaise with stakeholders as necessary to ensure children missing education received suitable educational provision at the earliest opportunity.

The CME Officer will only accept referrals after ALL the relevant checks have been completed by the referring agency.


16. Rotherham Children Missing Education Referral Process

  • Referral logged on central database (out of school register)*;
  • Checks made on available authority and partner databases;
  • Enquiries made with other agencies and stakeholders through information sharing agreements;
  • Checks with agencies known to be involved with the family;
  • Checks made to other authorities where the child was believed to have left Rotherham via those with responsibilities for children missing education;
  • Unless a child is located out of Authority or on the roll of another school, the child should not be removed from roll until advised by the CME Officer to do so;
  • When a child is referred to the CME Officer from outside Rotherham, the CME Officer will request a safe and well visit to be made to the address by the Education Welfare Officer for that area. At this visit the educational status of the child will be determined;
  • Once a child is located the CME Officer will report the outcome to the referrer;
  • Tracking will continue to take place until the child is placed on the roll of the school or in alternative educational provision.

* The out of school register is not a holding register. If a child is placed on this register as missing from education and subsequently returns, schools should direct parents/carers to apply through the Admissions and Transfers department and not re-admit the child.

Where continued concerns exist relating to the safety and welfare of any child missing from education, referral to other agencies such as Police and Social Care should be made.


17. Monitoring and Review

Rotherham Local Safeguarding Children Board

An annual report is presented to the Rotherham Local Safeguarding Children Board. This report highlights any changes in the number of children missing from education in Rotherham during the current and over the previous three years for comparison.

Any issues that arise during the year and how these are addressed and outstanding concerns are also included in this report. This will give the LSCB an overview of how many children are missing from education on a yearly basis.

Information Systems

Rotherham use Capita ONE as the Local Authority database. All children missing from education can be clearly identified on this system. A further module on this same system holds information relating to the availability of school places.

Use of s2s as a secure site for the transfer of Common Transfer Files can be monitored by the Local Authority centrally, enabling reports to be submitted on use and speed of access by individual schools. A report can also be generated to identify the number of pupils entered onto the Lost Pupil database by the Local Authority.


18. Relevant Legislation

Children Act 1989 provision of services for children in need and their families and others. Under the terms of Section 17 of the Act, every child under the age of 18 years is entitled to a full assessment of his/her needs and, if approached, social services have a legal duty to carry out this assessment and can be challenged if they fail to respond to any request for a section 17 child-in-need assessment. Section 17 places a general duty on social services to safeguard and promote the welfare of children 'in need' living in the area and to ensure appropriate services is provided for those children.

Section 47 Councils with Social Services responsibilities are required to conduct enquiries in accordance with section 47 of the Children Act, 1989, when they receive information that a child is suffering or likely to suffer Significant Harm.

Education Act 1996

Section 7 provides that the parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him/her to receive efficient full-time education suitable to his/her age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs he/she may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

Section 8 provides that compulsory school age starts on the relevant day on or after a child's fifth birthday and ends on the specified day of the school in which the child's 16th birthday falls.

Section 14(1) provides that a Local Authority must make sure there are sufficient schools for providing education in their area. For these purposes, the schools must be sufficient in number, character and equipment to provide all pupils with the opportunity of appropriate education (section 14(2)). 'Appropriate education' means broadly education which is desirable in view of the pupils' different ages, abilities and aptitudes and the different periods for which they may be expected to remain at school (section 14(3).

Section 19(1) requires every Local Authority to make arrangements for the provision of suitable education at school or otherwise that at school for those children of compulsory school age who by reason of illness, exclusion from school or otherwise, may not for any period receive suitable education unless such arrangements are made for them.

Children Act 2004

Section 10 requires each Local Authority to make arrangements to promote co-operation between the Local Authority, each of their relevant partners and such other persons or bodies working with children in the Local Authority's area, as the Local Authority consider appropriate. These arrangements should be made with a view to improving the wellbeing of children in the authority's area - which includes the protection from harm or Neglect alongside other outcomes.

Section 11 requires a range of organisations to make arrangements for ensuring that their functions and services provided on their behalf, are discharged having regard to meet the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

Section 12 enables the Secretary of state to require Local Authorities to establish and operate databases relating to Section 10 or 11 duties (above) or the section 175 duty (below), or to establish and operate databases nationally.

Section 17 enables the Secretary of State to require Local Authorities to prepare and publish a plan setting out the Authority's strategy for discharging their functions in relation to children and relevant young persons. The Children and Young Person's Regulations (England) 2005 requires Local Authorities to review the plan annually.

Section 63 of the Children Act 2004 amended schedule 5 of the Tax Credits Act 2002 enabling the Inland Revenue to provide Local Authorities with '...information, other that information relating to a person's income, which is held for the purposes of functions relating to tax credits, child benefit or guardian's allowance by the Board'. This information can only be requested where it is needed in order for the Local Authority to fulfil their statutory responsibilities to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Such enquiries will generally be made under section 47 of the Children Act 1989, which requires Local Authorities to make enquiries where they suspect a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm.

Children Act 2004 guidance can be found on the DfE website/The Children Act 2004.

Education Act 2002

Section 175 puts a duty on all Local Authorities, maintained schools and further education institutions (including sixth form colleges), to exercise their functions with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children(pupils and students under the age of 18 years in the case of schools and colleges). The same duty is expected of Independent Schools, including Academies under section 157 of the same Act.

Identifying children not receiving a suitable education is a key part of discharging the responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Local Authorities should use the powers identified above and work with their partner agencies to ensure that appropriate measures are in place to share information when identifying children not receiving education.

Further guidance is available in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 and Department for Education website/Safeguarding and social work reform.


19. Deletions from the School Admission and Attendance Register

Deletions from the admission and attendance registers must be made in line with the provisions of The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013. The name of the pupil of compulsory school age may only be deleted from the attendance register of the grounds named in this regulation. Schools must also inform the Local Authority of deletions of compulsory school age pupils who are:

  • Ceasing to attend school;
  • Being withdrawn to be educated outside the school system;
  • Unlikely to return to school whilst of compulsory school age, as certified by the school medical officer;
  • Being in custody, although schools are asked to discuss this with the Education Inclusion Officer at the Youth Offending Service;
  • Being permanently excluded.

Further information is available at Department for Education website.

In consideration of the duty on all Children's Services to safeguard the welfare of children and young people (Section 11 Children Act 2004), the expectation is that both the school and the Local Authority will put in place procedures to track the whereabouts of the child and to record that they have been completed before deleting them from the register. The type of procedures may include the appropriate checking with neighbours, relatives, private or public landlords and other stakeholders who may me involved. If there is a reason to believe that the child or young person may be at risk of significant harm Local Safeguarding Procedures should be followed.


20. Other Educational Provision

Children and young people who are not in education because of illness, permanent exclusion, home based education, part time attendance at a PRU or fail to attend school are the subject of separate procedures and protocols,


Appendix A: Children Missing from Education Admin/Case Studies

Click her to view Appendix A: Children Missing from Education Admin/Case Studies.


Appendix B: Referral/Fair Access

Click here to view Appendix B: Referral/Fair Access.

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