Last Reviewed January 2024

One Minute Guide to Children Not Attending School

Why does it matter if children do not attend school?

It is essential that children attend school. As well as falling behind academically the longer children are disengaged from education, the higher the degree of risk they could potentially be exposed to.

Issues in the home include abuse and neglect, exposure to domestic abuse, parental substance/alcohol misuse, parental mental health issues and expectations of being a young carer. Extra Familial harms may also increase such as online safety issues, CSE/CCE, radicalisation, gangs, peer abuse. Therefore, it is vital all services work together to ensure children are in school, receiving a proper education so schools can provide the right service, at the right time.

  • Text link image What is expected from schools?
    Show details
    If a child is not attending school nor engaging in remote learning, there are a few checks schools are expected to do. It is difficult to give a precise checklist, a prescriptive order or timelines for actions as each case will need to be individually risk assessed.

    The below is intended as a guide and should be followed in conjunction with existing safeguarding policies and procedures.

    – Childs parents contacted – text/phone call.

    – If no response after several attempts, ring other emergency contacts. School should have more than one emergency number for each child.

    – School can then do a home visit.

    – If there are still concerns contact other agencies who are involved with the family and may have had recent contact e.g; Sibling’s schools, Health visitor, housing service.

    – Do consult with your cluster council Education Welfare Services EWS to seek advice and support in these cases.

    – Do consider consulting you cluster Education Psychologist – for advice around emotional based school avoidance.

    – Consider taking case to Team Around the School TAS.

    When contacting other agencies be clear why you are seeking information, if it’s due to potential safeguarding concerns for the child, state this clearly.

    · You may also consider asking the child’s friends if they have had any contact.

    · Schools can also seek advice from their school link hub and social workers and Safer Schools Police Officer.

    · If there is a worker already involved (e.g. social worker/hub worker) ensure you are communicating directly and regularly with them about your concerns.

Please note

The child should not be noted as Child Missing Education (CME) unless they fulfil the criteria for this; visit Children Missing Education - Wakefield Council and

Elective Home Education EHE information; Elective Home Education - Wakefield Council for more details.

  • Text link image
     What Next?
    Show details
    In most cases, schools do need to have taken the steps as identified above first and in a timely way before contacting statutory services e.g. social care/MASH or police, unless there are other clear safeguarding concerns.

    If you are worried about a child please click here

    Do ensure good, supportive, communication with the family and other agencies from the outset. However if this is not successful e.g. after failed visits by agencies; please inform the family when you will next visit to see the child and make it clear that if you fail to see the child, statutory agencies may need to be contacted as you are concerned about the child’s welfare.

    Social care will become involved if there is evidence to suggest risk of significant harm.

MASH 0345 8 503 503

Police will become involved if there is a crime, e.g. domestic abuse incident / an immediate risk to life or serious injury/ if there is a risk of immediate significant harm, or when conducting a missing persons enquiry.

Police can be contacted on 101. Remember to use 999 in an emergency.

When contacting statutory agencies precisely outline the steps you have already taken and state clearly why you feel an intervention from them is required.

Other Useful Documents

Download this One Minute Guide to Children not attending school Click here to Download

Want to go back to the One Minute Guide page?

Take me back
Back to top Up arrow