Identifying and safeguarding ‘Children Missing from Education’ (CME)
In Merton a child of statutory school age is considered to be a ‘Child Missing Education’ (CME) under the following criteria:
- Not registered at an educational provision.
- Not registered as being ‘Educated other Than at School’ (Elective Home Education).
- Has been out of education for more than 20 calendar days.
- Chronic non-attendee (below 20% attendance) needing multi agency input.
The ‘Children Missing Education: Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities’ issued in September 2016 details the statutory duty placed on local authorities to identify children not receiving a suitable education, and to identify ‘children missing from education’ in their area. It also states the requirement that all schools - maintained, academy, free and independent - in an area must inform their local authority of all ‘on roll’ and ‘off rolled’ pupils, and that any off rolling is a joint decision with the local authority.
Our policy: Merton’s Good Practice Guidance for Identifying and Safeguarding Children Missing from Education (CME) implements the statutory guidance locally. It is designed to support a multi-agency approach to safeguarding children who are missing from education, involving the local authority, schools, the Metropolitan Police, children’s social care, and health services.
We now have in place robust processes for ensuring that we meet our statutory duty to identify and safeguard children not receiving a suitable education:
In September we published comprehensive guidelines for schools and briefings for head teachers, and are now successfully collecting data on all ‘on’ and ‘off’ roll children from all Merton schools including independents.
In addition, we have two panels in place which meet regularly to ensure that the local authority and partner agencies work together to share information to promote the welfare of children and to reduce the amount of time a child remains out of education.
The Children Missing Education Panel monitors children who are ‘CME’ under the criteria listed above. The agencies attending the CME panel include the local authority, children’s social care, youth justice, alternative education, and school nursing. The panel is responsible for producing a ‘Live’ CME Panel database to ensure that actions are being recorded and that agencies are working together to support the children and young people under review. It also links into to other processes – tackling child sexual exploitation and children missing from home or care - to ensure that other all risks are taken into account.
The Secondary Heads Placement Panel (Hard to Place/Fair Access) supports the collective admissions function to ensure all children are in school. It meets monthly and is chaired by schools.
The quality assurance review of our CME processes for the last academic year (2015/16), shows that as a result of this work:
- Less children are off roll in Merton without education in place against a background of a growing school population.
- Ninety six percent of cases were actioned and closed, and a suitable educational placement found, within three months, and 56% of these within one month.
For more information on our work to address Children Missing Education see the webpage: www.merton.gov.uk/educationwelfare