Missing Pupils Procedure

Date CreatedDate 1st Review DueDate ReviewedVersionNext Review Due
March 2023March 2024
September 20232September 2024

Introduction

The new College of Policing Authorised Policing Practice definition of a missing person is – Anyone whose whereabouts cannot be established will be considered as missing until located, and their wellbeing or otherwise confirmed. Adults at risk and Children aged under 18 will always be considered potentially at risk of harm and should therefore be considered missing if their whereabouts cannot be established.

Egham Park School does everything it can to minimise the risk of missing pupils. This includes a high staff to pupil ratio, robust signing in and out procedures and trained staff who are able to identify the early signs of a pupil who is likely to go into ‘flight’ mode. The safety of our pupils is of paramount importance.

This policy outlines the measures we take as a school in the unlikely event that a pupil goes
missing or does not attend school.

Unexplained absence (not arriving to school)

  • Egham Park School monitors pupils’ attendance closely through the daily register and addresses poor, irregular, or non-attendance. Pupils are registered at the beginning of each school day and if a pupil does not register this is followed up by Egham Park School office staff. Pupils accessing the curriculum through Blending Learning that are not on site, are required to ‘Check-in and Check-out’ at the beginning and end of each day via TEAMs, enabling both video and microphone so that we are able to both see and hear the student.
  • If a pupil is going to be absent, Parents/Guardians are asked to phone Egham Park School from 8.00am to speak to the school office and give reasons for their child’s absence.
  • If prior contact has not been made, the registrar marks any unexplained missing pupil with an ‘N’ in the register. The office then checks if the pupil’s absence is known to parents/guardians via a phone call. The school will never rely on third party information.
  • Egham Park School responds quickly to any early signs of pupils’ raised anxiety or dips in their progress, attendance or engagement in learning. We do this by speaking with the parents and then putting plans in place should they be needed to support the pupil and the family.
  • We will speak with friends who are close to the pupil and have regular contact with them to discuss the missing pupil’s emotional state and whereabouts
  • If we then suspect the pupil is potentially at risk of harm, we will phone extended family
    members, check the pupil’s social media activity and consider making a home visit.
  • Once all these measures have been taken and the pupil is still yet to be located, the police are informed and from this point the missing persons procedures are followed.
  • In cases of persistent non-attendance Egham Park School will make reasons enquiries, joints with the LA and the Child’s Case Worker to establish the whereabouts of the child.

Absconding from school (Seen)

  • If a pupil visibly leaves the school premises without permission, a member of staff must follow to try and persuade the pupil to return. The staff member alerts the office and keeps them updated.
  • If unable to get the pupil to return back to the school, the parents/carers are informed.
  • If the parent/carer is unable to contact the child or get them back to school or if the child goes out of sight, the police are informed and from this point the missing persons procedures are followed.

Missing at School (Unseen)

  • If a pupil goes missing whilst at school, staff will be alerted, and a ‘sweep’ of the whole school is initiated.
  • If the pupil’s mobile phone number is known, and they have their phone with them, we will attempt to contact them directly.
  • The Head of Centre will check the immediate locality to see if the pupil has removed themselves from the school premises.
  • Staff will talk to pupils and staff to gather relevant information
  • We will then inform the parents/carer (and social worker if applicable) and then the missing persons procedures are followed.

NB. Useful questions to be asked in the case of a missing pupil:

  • When were they last seen?
  • Who were they with?
  • Where might they have gone?
  • Have they signed out?
  • Is there a school activity that they might be on?
  • Have they been ill or injured recently?
  • What emotional state did they appear to be in?
  • Has anything upset them recently?
  • Did they speak to anyone about leaving?
  • Who are their main friends at Egham Park School?
  • Do they have a mobile phone and what is the number?
  • Is there any reason to believe they might have been abducted?
  • What are they wearing today/were last seen wearing?

Missing Person Procedure

If, after trying all the above strategies, the pupil’s whereabouts still cannot be established then the police should be called to make a Missing Person’s Report. This can be done by calling 101 or 999.

Any reporting to the police will be made by a member of the Senior Leadership Team – typically this will be the Designated Safeguarding Lead/Head of Centre or the Principal.

Further information can be found here

https://missingpersons.police.uk/en-gb/resources/reporting-someone-missing
We will provide the police with as much information as possible, including;

  • Name/DOB/Any Alias
  • A physical description of the pupil, including what they were wearing that day.
  • Previous Addresses
  • Phone numbers/Emails/Social Media details
  • Family Details (Names/Addresses etc)
  • Contact details for any key worker/social worker
  • List of Associates
  • Details of any vulnerability (i.e. Learning Disabilities/Mental Health/Physical injury or
    Illness/Medication)
  • Details of any current concern/issue for the child Circumstances of Disappearance

Police Response

Upon notification, and in accordance with the College of Policing Approved Professional Practice Guidance on Missing Children, the police will record the incident, conduct a risk assessment and allocate the relevant level of officers to the investigation, agree the initial steps to be taken to trace the missing person, set a time to review decisions which have been taken.

The school will notify the Police immediately should the child return or be located. The Police in turn should ensure the school is notified if they locate the child. If the Police locate the child and there is a need to take the child into police protection, then the Police will initiate this and take the child into their care. If, however, this immediate risk does not exist there is an expectation that the child’s parent or carer will arrange to collect the child.

In all cases, when a child returns having been reported missing, police will send an officer to complete a ‘Prevention Interview’. The police have a responsibility to ensure that the returning person is safe and well. The purpose of the interview is to identify any ongoing risk factors which may contribute to the person going missing again, to check on the child’s physical welfare, identify if they are a victim of any offences and to obtain basic details as to where and with whom they have been.

Return Home Conversations are also offered to children that go missing.

Once a pupil has been found

  • When the pupil is located, they see the Head of Centre or Principal as soon as possible. All other members of staff, parents, police and social care (if contacted) are kept informed.
  • Each case is discussed in the context of its own circumstances; sanctions will apply at the
    discretion of the Head of Centre and Principal. It may result in a day’s fixed term exclusion to make it clear to the pupil the severity of their actions. The child will have appropriate targeted interventions to reduce the risk of this happening again.

Pupil missing on off-site activities

This is planned for in the trips Risk Assessment and staff ratio on trips allows for deployment of staff in this case. If at an alternative facility, we would make the management aware we have a missing child in order to utilise their systems for locating the pupil (loudspeaker system, CCTV, radio system etc.) If the pupil’s whereabouts cannot be established, we will follow the Missing Person Procedure.

Repeated absence from school

If a pupil is repeatedly absent or absent for a period of 10 school days or more, or there are serious concerns about why a pupil may be absent, an investigation is made into the reasons why, by the Designated Safeguarding Lead and Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads.. The local authority is informed, any necessary actions taken, and any other relevant agencies are involved.

Signing in and Out

All pupils and staff must sign out if leaving the school premises and sign back in again upon their return. If they are not returning this should be agreed before leaving the site. All pupil appointments are in the school calendar and staff are reminded of these each morning in staff briefing.

Egham Park School Curriculum

Pupils are taught about personal safety through our PSHE programme and topics surrounding this are also explored during morning circle times and through 1:1 mentoring.

Blended Learning

If a pupil is doing remote learning online and does not attend online, it will be treated the same as if the pupil has not arrived at school.

Record Keeping

Record keeping: Egham Park School keep a full written record of any incident of a pupil that has been through the Missing Person Procedure. Incidents are logged on CPOMS as behaviour incident, on CPOMS as a Safeguarding Concern or on our Emergency Incident Report Form if there has been police involvement (or any combination of these depending on the nature of the incident)

Any sanctions will be recorded, if necessary, recorded in the Records of Sanctions for Serious Misbehaviour.