Skip to main content
Luton Borough Council

Children missing in education


Children missing education (CME) are children of compulsory school age who are not registered pupils at a school and are not receiving suitable education otherwise than at a school.

Children missing education are at significant risk of underachieving, being victims of harm, exploitation or radicalisation, and becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training) later in life.

If you are aware that a child is missing in education, please let us know.

Where there is concern for a child’s welfare, this should be referred to local authority children’s social care. If there is reason to suspect a crime has been committed, the police should also be involved. Where there is a concern that a child’s safety or well-being is at risk, it is essential to take action without delay.

Open all

Every child of statutory school age is entitled to an education and parents, schools and local authorities all have duties to ensure this.

Parents have a duty to ensure that their children of compulsory school age are receiving suitable full-time education. If a parent enrols their child at a school and they wish to change their child’s education by removing the child from the school roll, they must inform the school how the child will be educated and the date when this takes effect.

Schools have to monitor pupil’s attendance through their daily register, investigate unexplained absence and inform the local authority of pupils with irregular attendance or those missing school without permission.

The local authority has a duty under section 436A of the Education Act 1996 to make arrangements to establish the identities of children in their area who are not registered pupils at a school and are not receiving suitable education otherwise. The local authority also has to assess whether they ought to take legal action to protect a child’s education.

Your child’s name cannot be removed from the school roll until investigations have taken place as to their whereabouts as they are listed as a child missing from education and so they will be marked with unauthorised absence. The school and local authority will then undertake investigations to ascertain where they are and how they are being educated.

You need to inform your child’s current school of your new address and contact the local authority school admissions where you are moving to, to apply for a school place. Your child should not be without education at any time.

Our CME lead officer can be contacted on 01582 548180 or email at [email protected].

For more information on CME, visit our Children missing education webpage.

Complete our Child missing education referral form

Contact info
Education Welfare Service

Tel: 01582 548174

[email protected]


© 2021 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ