MISSING CHILD POLICY FOR STUDENTS UNDER 16
Children missing from education, particularly repeatedly, may indicate potential safeguarding issues including neglect, abuse, sexual and/or criminal exploitation, mental health concerns, substance abuse and radicalisation. Early intervention is essential for identifying possible risks and helping to prevent a child going missing in future. All staff must be aware of the possible implications of children missing in education and understand the College’s procedures for monitoring attendance and action required when a child is missing. Children missing in education falls under the remit of Child Protection so this policy should be read in conjunction with the College’s Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy and Procedures.
This policy applies specifically to children under the age of 16. Nonetheless, the College remains vigilant to all instances of students missing in education and the potential safeguarding implications.
This policy aims to set out clear guidance on what to do if a child is missing from education.
Related policies, legislation and guidance
3.1 Related Policies
Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy and Procedure
Health and Safety Policy
3.2. Relevant legislation and guidance
Children missing in education (2016)
Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE 2022)
Working together to improve school attendance (2022)
Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018)
Attendance and reporting long-term absence
The College monitors attendance closely, taking registers for each class four times during each day, with additional morning and afternoon registration for GCSE students. The Admissions and Attendance Officer follows up each unauthorised absence with a telephone call to verify the whereabouts of the student. The College requires all students to have more than one contact number. The College will inform the Local Authority or UKVI (for international students) if any student fails to attend College for 10 days in succession.
Where a student has been continuously absent without authorisation for a period of not less than 20 school days and there are no reasonable grounds to believe the student is at risk, unwell or unable to attend because of any unavoidable cause and the College and the local authority have failed, following reasonable enquiry, to ascertain the whereabouts of the student, the College may remove the student’s name from the admission’s register, which it is obliged by law to maintain. The College will inform the Local Authority.
5.1. When a child goes missing
The College will make all reasonable efforts to find a child who is missing from education. This will initially involve:
Checking with their friends.
Checking with reception.
Informing a senior member of staff.
Calling the student’s mobile.
Making enquiries with other students and staff.
If initial enquiries have been unsuccessful, then further action may require involvement of the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL), Facilities Manager, the Senior Leadership Team and external agencies. Actions include, but are not limited, to:
DSL recording all actions up to the point that the student is found.
DSL calling the parents and/or guardians.
DSL organising a search of the College.
DSL calling the police and/or other external agencies.
Facilities Manager to contact the building insurers, where appropriate.
If a student has been found having suffered a reportable injury, Facilities Manager to inform Health and Safety Executive under RIDDOR.
SLT devising a press strategy if the student has not been found.
5.2 When a child goes missing on an outing
Staff must take the following measures if a child goes missing during a College outing:
Take an immediate head count.
Search the vicinity.
Inform the DSL.
Return the remaining students to the College premises.
DSL to contact parents/guardians.
DSL to contact Local Safeguarding Children’s Partnership, the police and/or LADO, if appropriate.
This policy, and any incidents that may have occurred in relation to children going missing, are discussed in the College’s annual safeguarding review and necessary updates and improved security measures implemented.
Authorised by The Principal
Date September 2023
Effective date of the policy September 2023
Circulation Teaching staff / all staff / parents / students on request
Review date September 2024