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About Children Missing from Education (Scotland) service

The Children Missing from Education (Scotland) (CME(S)) Service is available to provide guidance on all aspects of children missing from education, and to facilitate agreements between local authorities, national agencies and partners to allow the effective exchange of information to locate a missing child.


Children ‘missing from education’ are children and young people of compulsory school age who are not on a school roll and are not being educated otherwise (at home, privately or in an alternative provision). They have usually not attended school for a period of time (up to four weeks but substantially less for a child with welfare concerns).

The CME(S) Team

The CME(S) Service is provided by a small team of staff based at Victoria Quay, Edinburgh, and forms part of the Learning and Justice Directorate of the Scottish Government.

Our primary role

  • Provide guidance and advice on good practice concerning cases of children missing from education
  • Check the national electronic School2School transfer system (S2S) to see if the child has enrolled at another publicly funded school in Scotland
  • Facilitate agreements between local authorities, national agencies and partners in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland to allow exchanges of information
  • Support local authorities in using these agreements

To aide with this

We have created a list of resources which contains guidance and contact lists maintained by the Scottish Government, as well as examples of best practice submitted by Local Authorities.

- Resources page

Your role

It is expected that a Local Authority should have clear guidance on attendance policy and school staff should be aware of the procedures to follow when a child fails to attend school. This guidance should extend to incorporate the role of the Named Person and CME Coordinator (or equivalent).

How you can help

To prevent and reduce the numbers of children missing from education, the co-operation of all Local Authorities across Scotland is paramount.

It is important that the CME coordinator within a Local Authority can be contacted quickly. To enable this to happen, even if there is a change in personnel, it is highly recommended that all CME coordinators and relevant staff within a Local Authority have access to a generic CME mailbox (eg CME@localauthority.gov.uk)

Further information

Further information on the CME(S) Service can be found in our Service Guidance document

- Service Guidance