Children missing from education

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 most important factor for any missing child is safety. Should there be any concern that the child may be at risk, it is essential that local child protection procedures are followed.

The Children Missing from Education (Scotland) Service:

  • provides guidance and advice on good practice concerning cases of children missing from education
  • checks the national electronic School2School transfer system (S2S) to see if the child has enrolled at another publicly funded school in Scotland
  • facilitates 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

Also worth seeing: guidance on managing attendance in schools

Local authority role

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 Children Missing from Education (CME) coordinator (or equivalent).

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 (e.g.

School 2 school register

The national School2School (S2S) register enables the secure transfer of a standard set of pupil details between publicly funded schools within Scotland. The system highlights instances of pupils who have left a school, but have not arrived at their expected onward destination. It also provides information on the reasons why pupils are transferring to, or leaving a school.

Request a search of S2S

At any stage during a search for a child it is possible to contact the Children Missing from Education (Scotland) service to conduct a search of the S2S register. The register can identify if the missing child has enrolled at another publicly funded school in Scotland and will pass these details on to the party requesting the search.

Child's details needed:

  • Scottish candidate number (where appropriate)
  • forename and surname
  • date of birth
  • current school (if missing from a Scottish school)
  • school Scottish Executive Education Department (SEED) code (if missing from a Scottish school)

This should be submitted in a secure way, as per your local authority's data protection and transfering information guidance.


Children Missing from Education (Scotland)
c/o Scottish Government
Learning Directorate
Victoria Quay


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