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Some of the preventative measures schools should take to stop children going missing from education.

If parents approach school direct for a place

All applications for school places must be made through admissions in the child's home authority.

Schools may no longer accept approaches direct or convey any decisions regarding school places. However, schools may offer the use of their computer and telephone facilities to parents when they visit the school in order to make an application whilst they are there. This can help avoid situations where parents leave the school and then do not go on to apply for a place.

Where parents are reluctant to fill in an application form, or you have concerns about the information they provide, please contact CME with as much key information as you have been able to glean, such as a child’s name, date of birth, previous school and new address they are moving to.

Parents' responsibility to inform school of changes

At the earliest opportunity, parents need to be made aware of their responsibility to inform you about changes to their details, plans to move away or to change schools. Under the requirements of the Data Protection Act, you are required to write to parents annually to ask them to confirm that the details you are holding are accurate. This presents a further opportunity to remind parents of their responsibilities.

A letter could be placed in parent packs, as part of your enrolment procedures, to convey the importance of keeping school informed. This letter could inform parents in advance that they must provide school with a forwarding address in the event of moving away.

Please use the model policy paragraphs part of the letter you place in parent packs. This paragraph requests forwarding details at the time parents are considering changing school. Or you may wish to incorporate the wording in your school brochure.

The policy paragraph refers to a pupil exit form which parents can request from a school when they are considering moving and changing school.

In addition, please give the pupil exit form to parents as soon as you become aware the child is moving away, if parents have not already provided you with their new details. In the event of any safeguarding issues coming up, this written confirmation could prove vitally important later on.

Hopefully your preventative measures will ensure that, in most cases, parents provide you with clear information, well in advance, about their new address and also the new school that their child is moving to.

It is your responsibility to verify the new school details independently, as far as possible, by getting in touch with the new school. A comprehensive list of local authority schools for the UK can be found on the schools web directory.

Other measures

If, despite preventative measures, a child leaves the school without forwarding details, the more information we have to carry out our searches, the better. Vital information from your records to help our searches would include parents' full names and all the contact numbers the family had provided to school, including extended family and friends.

Please use S2S to identify where a child might have gone missing by regularly checking in View/Remove CTF files on the S2S site to ensure that any CTFs you have uploaded to another school have been collected.

Thank you for your co-operation.

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