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Date updated: 18/05/2022
Contact the Education and Early Years Service
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Back to School?

To coincide with the start of the new school year in September, we launched our Back to School? campaign, together with the support of the City of London and Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership, to raise awareness around children going missing from education (CME). 

The campaign highlighted:

  • the risks children missing education face
  • some of the signs to watch out for
  • what to do if you're concerned about a child

We all need to play our part in protecting children, identifying those who are missing from education and making sure they get back to school.

If you choose to educate your children at home you must tell your local authority first. If you don't, your children will be considered as missing from education.

If you think a child is missing education or regularly appears to be out of school, contact the Children and Families Team (City of London Corporation):

  • call 020 7332 3621 - Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm only
  • call 020 8356 2710 - at all other times, including weekends and bank holidays.
  • contact the Family Information Service

Children missing from education are likely to be at risk of:

  • being abused or exploited at home
  • being illegally employed
  • becoming involved in criminal activity
  • committing antisocial behavior
  • misusing drugs and alcohol

Children will be considered missing from education if they:

  • are not registered (on roll) at a school
  • are not being educated at home or through another approved educational provision.
  • Parents not realising at what age a child should start primary school or move up to secondary school
  • The child isn't attending school due to bullying, illness or other issues
  • Parents taking their child out of school due to a dispute or disagreement
  • A family moving house frequently or becoming homeless
  • A family experiencing breakdown and/or domestic abuse
  • No school places being available when a family moves to a new area
  • Parents deciding to home educate but not informing the local authority
  • Children playing a key role as carer in their family
  • Children in domestic servitude

Attending school regularly is key to ensuring good exam results. Parents have a legal responsibility to make sure that their children attend school regularly. This means:

  • attending school every day
  • arriving at school on time
  • attending every lesson

Any requests for leave of absence during term time must be sent in writing, with plenty of notice, to the head teacher of your child's school. Generally, leave of absences during term time are agreed only in exceptional circumstances.

Schools and the Education Welfare Service will provide pupils and parents with support to overcome barriers to children attending school regularly. The Education and Inspections Act 2006.

There are consequences if parents do not ensure regular attendance.

Penalty notices may be issued to parents for unauthorised absences, persistent lateness and missing lessons by their child. If unpaid after 42 days, these can be referred to a Magistrates' Court. If convicted, the parents could receive a criminal record.