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)

If you have a safeguarding concern regarding a child

Email our secure email at

Call 0808 800 4005, open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6:45pm. Calls are free from landlines and most mobiles.

Out of hours

Call 0808 800 4005 and your call will be diverted to the Emergency Duty Service, who will handle calls that cannot wait until the next working day.

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 by calling Customer Service on 0345 606 6067, Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5.30pm (excluding bank holidays).

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.

For schools: the CME Referral form

Download the latest CME Referral form (Word, 60KB), dated September 2018.

The CME Team will only be able to accept this updated Referral form from the start of the 2018-19 Academic Year.

If you need to contact the CME Team, email Alternatively you may call or leave a voicemail on the CME Skype number (as stated on the Referral form).

Leaflet for Roma/Romanian families

Download and print the information leaflet available in: