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.

For members of the public and SCC professionals

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.

For schools

Complete a CME Referral form through the CME Schools Portal

Copy and paste into one of the following browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 11 (older browsers may experience issues)
  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Microsoft Edge

The CME Team will only accept CME Referrals via the CME Schools Portal from September 2019.

Please see the CME Schools Portal advice and guidance (PDF, 35KB), as published on 28 August 2019 and 3 September 2019 in the Suffolk Headlines Bulletin. 

If you need to contact the CME Team, please email or call the CME team on the general CME number at 01473 265224. A voicemail facility is available.

CME protocol

Download the updated CME protocol (PDF 722KB), version 1.0, August 2021.

Leaflet for Roma/Romanian families

Download and print the information leaflet available in: