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4.8 Children At Risk of Not receiving a Suitable Education

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

For detailed guidance, see the (Revised) Guidance for Local Authorities in England to Identify Children not Receiving a Suitable Education (January 2009).

Recent documents relating to the Ofsted publication Children Missing from Education (August 2010)

RELATED GUIDANCE

Children Missing Education: Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities (DfE, September 2016)

The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2016

AMENDMENT

In May 2017, new links were added (see above) to Children Missing Education: Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities (DfE, September 2016) and to The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2016.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Meaning of Children Missing from Education
  3. Looked After Children
  4. Children at Risk of Harm
  5. Children Educated at Home
  6. Excluded Pupils
  7. Pupils With Special Education Needs
  8. School-Age Parents
  9. Young People Supervised by the Youth Justice System
  10. Children From Families of Members of the Armed Forces
  11. Children in Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) Families
  12. The Role of Schools
  13. The Role of The Local Safeguarding Children Board
  14. The Role of The School Admissions Team
  15. The Role of The Education Social Welfare Service (Esws)
  16. The Role of Multidisciplinary Area Teams
  17. The Role of the Virtual School and the Looked After Children Education Support Team
  18. The Role of Wirral Alternative School Programme
  19. The Role of Wirral Hospital School
  20. The Role of The Youth and Play Service
  21. The Role of The Youth Offending Service
  22. The Role of Connexions
  23. The Role of Other Agencies


1. Introduction

Local Authorities are under a statutory duty to make arrangements to identify Children Missing Education ('CME') in their area (Education and Inspections Act 2006, part 1 section 4).  The revised statutory guidance (Revised) Guidance for Local Authorities in England to Identify Children not Receiving a Suitable Education notes that:

  • There is wide agreement about the outcomes we all want for every child - they should be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic wellbeing.

A key aspect of the Every Child Matters (ECM): Change for Children programme is that relevant agencies should work together locally through the Children's Trust to design and deliver better and more integrated, preventative services to children and young people. The ECM reforms introduced a Common Assessment Framework, improved information sharing procedures, and the development of the Lead Professional role to support this approach. Implementation of the duty to identify children who are not receiving a suitable education, introduced by the Education and Inspections Act 2006, should be embedded in the local authority's overarching preventative strategy, and through the Children's Trust, ensure that these children receive the full range of services they need.

Children not receiving a suitable education are at increased risk of a range of negative outcomes that could have long term damaging consequences for their life chances. For example they are at risk of not attaining the skills and qualifications they need to succeed in life, and are at significant risk of becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training) once they have reached the compulsory school leaving age. They could also be more vulnerable in one way or another. They may be from disadvantaged families (experiencing multiple risks such as poverty, substance misuse, mental ill-health and poor housing), travelling communities, immigrant families, be unaccompanied asylum seeking or trafficked children, or be at risk of neglect or abuse or disengaged from education. 

This procedure is intended to inform Local Authority (LA) officers, schools, governing bodies and other agencies and professionals about how to support children and young people at risk of not receiving a suitable education. It should be read in conjunction with LA advice and guidance on school attendance issues, Children and Young People's Plan and guidance on Children and Families Who Go Missing.


2. Meaning of Children Missing from Education

'Children Missing from Education' (CME) refers to all pupils of compulsory school age who are not on a school roll, nor being educated otherwise and who have been out of any educational provision for a substantial period of time (usually agreed as four weeks or more).

In the context of 'Every Child Matters' and the Children Act 2004, Wirral LA acknowledges that 'education protects' and that it is a key responsibility of the LA and its schools to safeguard all the children resident in Wirral or attending Wirral schools.

The Children Act 2004 places a duty on all agencies to work together to promote the welfare of children and to share information. This principle underpins this policy and there is an expectation that all agencies will work together to ensure children are safely on school rolls.

There is now considerable research available that identifies the reasons for children and young people being 'missing from school'. The most common reasons include:

  1. failing  to start appropriate provision and hence never entering the system;
  2. ceasing to attend as a result of exclusion (including unofficial, illegal exclusions);
  3. failing to complete a transition between providers (e.g. being unable to find a suitable school place after moving to a new LA);
  4. frequent moves of house, including periods of homelessness or periods in a refuge;
  5. family breakdown or bereavement;
  6. persistent truancy leading to non-attendance (especially in Years 10 and 11);
  7. disaffection resulting in pupil and/or parent dissatisfaction with the school and the parent withdrawing the pupil or 'being asked to leave';
  8. young people who have committed offences;
  9. children living in women's refuges;
  10. children of homeless families; perhaps living in temporary accommodation, house of multiple occupancy or Bed and Breakfast;
  11. young runaways;
  12. children with long-term medical or emotional problems;
  13. unaccompanied asylum seekers and refugees, or children of asylum seeking families;
  14. Looked After Children;
  15. children with a Roma/Traveller background;
  16. young carers;
  17. children from transient families;
  18. teenage parents.

Pupil's personal circumstances, or those of their families, may also contribute to the withdrawal process and the failure to make a transition between schools or placements.

It will be recognised that the factors listed above make children and young people 'vulnerable' in every sense and it is therefore particularly important they are not allowed to 'go missing' from education.


3. Looked After Children

There is a wealth of research evidence to demonstrate that Looked After Children (LAC) are less likely to achieve A*-C grades at GCSE, less likely to go to university or higher education, more likely to suffer mental health problems, more likely to become teenage parents, more likely to sleep rough, and more likely to spend time in prison than the general population (A Better Education For Children In Care: Social Inclusion Unit Report, September 2003).

Wirral established a Virtual School for Looked After Children in 2003 to ensure that a coordinated multidisciplinary approach is used to support and improve outcomes for our Looked After Children. Each child has a Personal Education Plan to which they themselves, their carers, parents (if appropriate), social worker, designated teacher, and others contribute.

See Local Contacts for Virtual School Head Teacher and LACES Team.


4. Children at Risk of Harm

Children may be removed from education or prevented from attending as a result or symptom of them suffering from abuse or Neglect.  In all circumstances where there are concerns over a child's welfare, a Referral should be made to the local authority children's social care - using the Contacts and Referrals Procedure. Local authority staff should refer to 'Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015' and 'What to do if You're Worried a Child is Being Abused' for further guidance.  More guidance on what to consider is given below.

How to consider whether it is appropriate to refer a case to Children's Specialist Services or to the police

When a child is absent from education, it is possible that this is due to other behaviour, associations or activity that puts them at risk of harm. This could be of their own choice or by the actions of another person or persons influencing their behaviour and choices. They could be the victims of abuse, Neglect or crime, including Child Sexual Exploitation, forced marriage, trafficking, domestic servitude or abduction. It is important to recognise when young people are in situations where they are vulnerable and to take appropriate action.

In any case where there is concern for a child's welfare this should be referred to local authority Children's Specialist Services. If there is reason to suspect a crime has been committed, the police should also be involved. Where there is genuine concern that young person's safety and/or well-being is at risk, it is essential to take action quickly, as delays can see problems escalate, and also hamper an effective investigation of the circumstances in which the child is living. To ascertain whether it is appropriate to make a Referral to Children's Specialist Services and/or the police, a number of issues should be considered, listed below.

  • Have there been suspicions in the past concerning this child and family members, which together with any sudden disappearance from education provision are worrying?
  • Have there been any past concerns about the child associating with significantly older young people or adults? For example, are they picked up from school by older males in cars who are not related to them?
  • Was there a significant incident prior to the child's unexplained absence from education provision?
  • Is the child/young person the subject of a Child Protection Plan or has there been past involvement with Children's Specialist Services about matters of child protection concern?
  • Is the child/young person Looked After by a local authority?
  • Is there current Children's Specialist Services involvement with this child or one of their siblings and their parents, fathers as well as mothers?
  • Is there a history of mobility without full explanations as to why?
  • Are there issues raised by the child or by their family's immigration or asylum status?
  • Has there been school or local authority intervention in relation to attendance, e.g. visits by Education Social Welfare Service, parenting contracts and fast-track to attendance?
  • Is there a good reason to believe that the child's absence may be the result of them being the victim of a crime?  The following questions could assist a judgement:
    • Is the child's absence from school very sudden, out of character, and without any satisfactory explanation being provided by their family or carer? 
    • Has the child/young person said something to give rise to concern?
    • Has the child/young person gone missing with their family?
    • Has the child/young person gone missing without their family?
    • Is there any reason related to the child's ethnicity or culture to believe that the child/young person is at risk of harm?

Getting answers to these questions could involve talking to the child's friends at school, or making enquiries of neighbours of the child's home.

If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, then a Referral to Children's Specialist Services and/or the police should be made - using the Contacts and Referrals Procedure.


5. Children Educated at Home

Parents of children who are of compulsory school age have a duty to ensure that they receive an efficient, full time education, suitable to their ages, abilities, aptitudes and any special educational needs they may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise Some parents decide to provide suitable education for their children by educating them at home.

Local authorities need to make arrangements which will as far as possible enable them to determine whether any children who are not pupils at schools, such as those being educated at home, are receiving suitable education. In order to do this local authorities should make inquiries with parents educating children at home about the educational provision being made for them.  The procedures to be followed with respect to such investigations are set out in the Elective Home Education Guidelines for Local Authorities (2007). 

Where parents decide to withdraw their child from school and notify the proprietor ("proprietor", in relation to a school, means the person or body of persons responsible for the management of the school so that, in relation to a community, foundation or voluntary or community or foundation special school, it means the governing body (s579, Education Act 1996)) in writing that the child is receiving education at home, the proprietor must delete the child from the admissions register unless the child is the subject of a current School Attendance Order (see regulation 8(1)(a) and (d) of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006) ('the Pupil Registration Regulations')  If a parent on whom a School Attendance Order has been served fails to comply with the requirements of the Order they are guilty of an offence under section 443 of the Education Act 1996, unless they prove that the child is receiving a suitable education otherwise than at school. 

It is the duty of the proprietor of the school to inform the local authority of the deletion and the reason for it, no later than when the pupil's name is deleted from the register (regulation 12(3) of the Pupil Registration Regulations 2006).  The Pupil Registration Regulations apply to all schools: maintained; independent; Pupil Referral Units; special schools; City Technology Colleges; and Academies.

Children with Education, Health and Care Plans can be educated at home. The duty of the parent remains to provide a suitable education for the child. Where the local authority maintains a Statement for the child, the authority is responsible for arranging that the special educational provision specified in the statement is made for the child, unless the child's parent has made suitable arrangements (section 324(5)(a) of the Education Act 1996).  If the parent's arrangements are suitable, the local authority is relieved of their duty to arrange the provision directly, but it still remains the local authority's duty to ensure the child's special educational needs are met.

The Education Social Welfare Service coordinates the monitoring of children educated at home in Wirral.

See also the 2009 Review of Elective Home Education in England.


6. Excluded Pupils

The Education (Provision of Full-Time Education for Excluded Pupils) (England) Regulations 2007 require local authorities to ensure that suitable full-time education is made available to permanently excluded pupils, including  pupils excluded from pupil referral units from the sixth school day of exclusion. The Regulations likewise require relevant schools to arrange full-time education from the sixth school day of fixed period exclusion.

The Admissions & Exclusions Officer must be informed of all exclusions from school (both permanent and fixed term). It is expected that all schools will follow the Guidance on Exclusion from Schools and Pupil Referral Units (2008) statutory Guidance on Exclusion from School.

In the event of a pupil being excluded for a fixed term of up to five days, then work must be provided by the school and returned for marking.  Parents are responsible for supervising their children during this period and may be liable to a fixed penalty fine should they be sighted in a public place, during school hours, without reasonable justification.  If the fixed term exclusion is for six school days or more, the school should arrange a full time, off-site education from the sixth day.

See also Wirral Alternative School Programme.


7. Pupils With Special Education Needs

The Local Authority provides a range of support and services to children, schools and families. This includes consultation and assessment work, project, training and development work.  Work may be focused on the needs of individuals, groups, or the organisation or system. The key emphasis is on providing an early response and intervention with other professionals to maximize success.

Advice and guidance is available from officers at Hamilton Building (see Local Contacts) and specialist staff at the Special Education Support Service at Bebington Town Hall and from specialist staff in the Local Authority's special schools. 

The Local Authority has delegated resources to schools to support the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice guidance about how special needs should be met.

For children and young people with additional and exceptional special needs the Local Authority maintain a number of special schools and special provisions at certain schools.

For further information, contact the Special Education Needs Section (see Local Contacts)


8. School-Age Parents

For further guidance, see also 'Teenage Pregnancy Strategy:  Beyond 2010' (DCSF/DH, February 2010).

Young women who become pregnant while they are still of statutory school age continue to need the education that was planned for them and should be encouraged to continue at their mainstream school. This minimises disruption to the continuity of their education and peer relationships. Schools need to look for alternatives only if remaining at school presents problems for the student concerned. Wirral's Children and Young People Department and the Teenage Pregnancy Steering Group have produced a booklet to assist schools in supporting young parents and particularly pregnant students and school age mothers. (See Teenage Pregnancy Pathway publication.)

Pregnancy is not a reason for excluding young women from school. It is recommended that every school has a named lead teacher for pregnant teenagers and teenage parents.

Helping the student to cope:

  • Each student in this position needs to be treated as an individual, with individual needs and wishes. However, all students in this situation require support and guidance regardless of where they are educated;
  • To improve and develop the support offered to school age parents, a Young Parents' Learning Mentor has been appointed;
  • The Young Parents' Learning Mentor is available to all school age parents for support and guidance regardless of where they are being educated;
  • Before the Young Parents' Learning Mentor can act, it must be ensured that the student's family are aware of the pregnancy.

The Young Parents' Learning Mentor will:

  • Advocate for the student by:
    • Helping the student to identify their needs;
    • Liaising with the appropriate agencies( e.g. schools, children's centres,) to address those needs.
  • Reduce barriers to attainment and success by:
    • Fostering excellent relationships with the student and the agencies that work with the student;
    • Maintaining the student's engagement in education (statutory and further) and training;
    • Developing of personal support plan in partnership with the young person and mainstream school.
  • Help the student raise his/her self-esteem, self-confidence and self-efficacy by:
    • Helping the young person to identify their strengths and areas for development;
    • Working with the young person to promote their self-development including nurturing their parenting skills;
    • Raising the student's aspirations for their own and their child's future.
  • Monitor the attainment and success of the student by:
    • Collecting data e.g. attendance, academic attainment on referral;
    • Collecting data e.g. external examination achievement and Post- 16 destination at the end of statutory education.
  • Offer support to the student's partner by:
    • Signposting young fathers for targeted support e.g. Connexions;
    • Including young fathers in activities that support families and enhance parenting skills.
  • Support the adults who are involved with the student by:
    • Being available to the student's parents/carers, teachers, school nurses, nursery staff for advice.

Schools must refer all students who are pregnant to the Young Parents' Learning Mentor using the standard referral form. This information will be kept in confidence; although anonymous data will be used to monitor and track the young parents progress e.g. attendance, GCSE achievements, use of services, so as to better support them.

On referral, a Support Planning Meeting will be arranged and held at an appropriate venue e.g. the student's mainstream school, children' s centre, Joseph Paxton Campus. The purpose of this meeting is to agree a support package for that student during and beyond the pregnancy.

The following individuals should be present at the Support Planning Meeting: Student; their parents/carers; the Young Parents' Learning Mentor; the Named Lead representing the mainstream school; the Education Co-ordinator for Pregnant Schoolgirls and School age Mothers.

Every effort should be made to engage the parents/carers of a young woman who is estranged from her parents/carers. If this is not possible, an appropriate other person who can support the student should be invited and her parents/carers informed by letter of the decisions within the support package. In the case of a young woman who is in public care, their Social Worker will be invited to attend the Support Planning Meeting.

In terms of the student's continuing education there are a number of possible outcomes:

  • For most students, remaining at their mainstream school with support from the Young Parents' Learning Mentor would be the best outcome;
  • For some students, a place at the Seedlings group (see Local Contacts) will be offered. This is a flexible option in that the student may stay in their mainstream school until they feel they can no longer manage to attend then transfer to the Seedlings group. Students will be encouraged to reintegrate into their original school following the birth of their baby. The same level of support will be offered by the Young Parents' Learning Mentor as with students who remain in their mainstream schools;
  • For a very small number of students, up to 10 hours of one-to-one home tuition will be offered. This is the least satisfactory outcome and would be offered only in very special circumstances as it may increase the student's sense of isolation and lacks the benefits of group teaching. The support from the Young Parents' Learning Mentor would be as above.

In all cases the student remains on the roll of their mainstream school.

Contact Wirral Hospital School.


9. Young People Supervised by the Youth Justice System

Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) in each local authority supervise a range of young people (aged primarily between 8 and 18 years old) who are often at risk of disengagement from education (including young people who have been sentenced for committing crimes and young people who have been identified as at risk of offending). YOTs therefore have a unique role in working with young people who are at risk and who may not be attending school or other provision. YOTs must identify those who are not receiving suitable education through the ONSET or ASSET assessment and should then work in partnership with other services to ensure that appropriate full time education (or training or employment) is secured as soon as possible.

Such joint working will help local authorities achieve a number of important objectives. For example, one of the key indicators underpinning the Youth PSA - to increase the number of young people on the path to success, - is to 'reduce the number of first time entrants to the youth justice system'. Also, the new National Indicator Set also includes an indicator to ensure that at least 90% of young offenders are engaged in appropriate full time provision (education, training or employment) at the end of their sentence.

Young offenders who are sent to custody  - either a Young Offender Institution, a Secure Training Centre or a local authority Secure Children's Home - should not be classed as 'missing from education', as all are required to be in full-time education and training within their custody setting, and education provision forms a central part of custodial regimes. However there remain some significant challenges. The placement of children into custody is managed nationally by the Youth Justice Board, and young people are often placed in custody in different local authority areas from where they usually live. Therefore it is important that YOTs work with their Children's Trust partners to liaise about the location of young offenders in custody and their planned release date.  Where there is a change in the planned release date (e.g. as a result of early release) the YOTs should inform the Children's Trust, for example the named lead local authority contact for identifying children not receiving a suitable education.

Education and training forms a critical element of resettlement and rehabilitation for children and young people leaving custody and it is important that they are engaged in suitable provision as soon as possible on their release. It is good practice for the place of custody, YOT and its partners in the Children's Trust to work together at the beginning and during the child's time in custody to ensure appropriate full time provision is secured for the child before they are released, in order that they can enter education provision as soon as they are released.


10. Children From Families of Members of the Armed Forces

Children from families of members of the Armed Forces are likely to experience high mobility both within and outside the UK.  Moves can be made at quite short notice, with future home address and school not known until just before the move. Schools and local authorities can make enquiries through the MOD Children's Education Advisory Service (CEAS). CEAS can also liaise between local authorities, and with devolved authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Service Children's Education (SCE) also keeps records of all pupils in Service schools overseas. Enquiries about children in Service schools overseas should also be made via CEAS.


11. Children in Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) Families

Children in Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) families often have a mobile lifestyle and local authority Traveller Education Support Services (TESS) already advise schools on the best strategies to include these children and promote their achievement and engagement in school activities. There are times when the high mobility of some of these children means they can be more at risk of going missing from education, for example, highly mobile GRT families who are living on unauthorised sites and are subject to unpredictable forced movement which hinders access to school. 

The Education Social Welfare Service will visit GRT families who come to the Wirral and will make enquiries about the education provision for any children of school age. If requested, places will be arranged at local schools.


12. The Role of Schools

When a pupil is expected to join the school, either at a normal time of starting (e.g. Nursery, Reception or Year 7) or at any other time, and s/he does not arrive, the school must first try to make contact with the parents by phone or letter. If, after one week, no contact has been made the school must inform the local authority Admissions Department to find out if the pupil has been registered elsewhere. If the pupil has not been registered elsewhere then the school must complete a referral to the Education Social Welfare Service. The pupil must not be removed from roll until the Education Social Welfare Officer has ascertained the pupil's whereabouts and safety, and has confirmed that the pupil is registered at another school or is being educated otherwise. The pupil should be marked on the register as an unauthorised absence.

If a pupil has unexplained absence from school for a prolonged period, or fails to return from a holiday, the school must follow the normal procedures for investigating pupil absence (i.e. telephone calls, letters, invitations to meetings at the school, etc). If, after two weeks, the pupil does not return to school the matter must be referred to the Education Social Welfare Service.

The pupil must not be removed from roll until the LA and school are both satisfied that reasonable enquiries have been made to ascertain the pupil's whereabouts and safety, and confirmed that the pupil is registered at another school or is being educated otherwise. Guidance should be sought from the ESW Service.

If a pupil 'disappears' without any warning the school must immediately notify the Education Social Welfare Service.

There are strict rules on when schools can delete pupils from their Admission Register. These are outlined in Regulation 8 of the Education (Pupil Registration)(England) Regulations 2006:

(8)(1) The following are prescribed as the grounds on which the name of a pupil of compulsory school age shall be deleted from the admission register:

  1. Where the pupil is registered at the school in accordance with the requirements of a school attendance order, that another school is substituted by the local education authority for that named in the order or the order is revoked by the local education authority on the ground that arrangements have been made for the child to receive efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude otherwise than at school;
  2. Except where it has been agreed by the proprietor that the pupil should be registered at more than one school, in a case not falling within sub-paragraph (a) or regulation 9, that he has been registered as a pupil at another school;
  3. Where a pupil is registered at more than one school, and in a case not falling within sub-paragraph (j) or (m) or regulation 9, that he has ceased to attend the school and the proprietor of any other school at which he is registered has given consent to the deletion;
  4. In a case not falling within sub-paragraph (a) of this paragraph, that he has ceased to attend the school and the proprietor has received written notification from the parent that the pupil is receiving education otherwise than at school;
  5. Except in the case of a boarder, that he has ceased to attend the school and no longer ordinarily resides at a place which is a reasonable distance from the school at which he is registered;
  6. In the case of a pupil granted leave of absence exceeding ten school days for the purpose of a holiday in accordance with regulation 7(3), that -
    1. The pupil has failed to attend the school within the ten school days immediately following the expiry of the period for which such leave was granted;
    2. The proprietor does not have reasonable grounds to believe that the pupil is unable to attend the school by reason of sickness or any unavoidable cause; and
    3. Both the proprietor and the local education authority have failed, after reasonable enquiry, to ascertain where the pupil is.
  7. That he is certified by the school medical officer as unlikely to be in a fit state of health to attend school before ceasing to be of compulsory school age, and neither he nor his parent has indicated to the school the intention to continue to attend the school after ceasing to be of compulsory school age;
  8. That he has been continuously absent from the school for a period of not less than twenty school days; and
  9. At no time was his absence during that period authorised by the proprietor in accordance with regulation 6(2):
    1. The proprietor does not have reasonable grounds to believe that the pupil is unable to attend the school by reason of sickness or any unavoidable cause; and
    2. Both the proprietor of the school and the local education authority have failed, after reasonable enquiry, to ascertain where the pupil is;
    3. That he is detained in pursuance of a final order made by a court or of an order of recall made by a court or the Secretary of State, that order being for a period of not less than four months, and the proprietor does not have reasonable grounds to believe that the pupil will return to the school at the end of that period.
  10. That the pupil has died;
  11. That he will cease to be of compulsory school age before the school next meets and the relevant person has indicated that he will cease to attend the school;
  12. In the case of a pupil at a school other than a maintained school, an Academy, a city technology college or a city college for the technology of the arts, that he has ceased to be a pupil of the school;
  13. That he has been permanently excluded from the school; or
  14. Where the pupil has been admitted to the school to receive nursery education, that he has not on completing such education transferred to a reception, or higher, class at the school.

When a pupil's name is deleted from the Admission Register the school must clearly indicate, on the register, the date and the reason for the removal from roll. In the event of a pupil moving to another school the name of the school must be indicated and the pupil's records must be sent to the new school within 15 days, using the Common Transfer File (CTF) via the S2S website. If, for any reason, a child's name is removed from the school roll the ESW Service must be informed immediately.

In the event of a parent informing the school that s/he is removing the pupil to educate him/her at home, the Officer with responsibility for Elective Home Education, must be informed through the Education Social Welfare Service.

 The pupil's name will be logged into the tracking system and Wirral Out of School Register (OOSR) and arrangements will be made by the LA to monitor the efficiency and suitability of the education.

If the pupil has moved or transferred and is on roll at another school, the ESW Service must be informed.

If the pupil is to be removed from roll for any other reason, the ESW Service must be informed of the proposed deletion and given time to make appropriate enquiries about the pupil's whereabouts. If a pupil is removed from roll without a new school having been identified, the ESW Service must be notified immediately and the Notification of Removal From School Roll.

Schools must monitor all deletions from school rolls by race, ethnicity, gender, Education, Health and Care Plans and disability to ensure that they are fulfilling their obligations under the Equality Act 2010.

If a school learns of a school aged pupil without a school place (e.g. a sibling or friend of a current pupil, or a child on its waiting list) the school must inform the LA of the pupil by completing a referral (CME01) to the Education Social Welfare Service.

If a pupil is a resident of another Local Authority it is the educating school's responsibility to notify the 'home' Authority of any of the circumstances above, in line with Wirral Protocols? that cover cross-borough issues with pupils.

Removal from roll for any reason other than those specified above is illegal.

School Improvement Partners and Ofsted will monitor schools' compliance with legal requirements.

If a school knows to which school a pupil is moving they must ensure that the Common Transfer File (CTF) is sent to the receiving school via the S2S website as quickly as possible. The new school may then apply for the full school record. The CTF must be sent to the new school no later than fifteen days after the pupil has moved (this is a legal requirement) but it is better to send the file as soon as the transfer has been confirmed.

If a school does not know to which school/LA the pupil has moved, then four weeks after the pupil has left the school, a CTF must be created using XXX XXXX as the destination. This must then be uploaded onto the S2S website - this information will be held in a secure area of S2S known as the Lost Pupil Database. This CTF file must hold information on one pupil only.

If a child leaves the school to go to an independent school, becomes home educated or attends a school outside England and Wales then the destination code MMM MMMM must be used - this file will be held in a secure part of the S2S database, which can be searched by the designated Lost Pupil User for the Local Authority.

If a CTF is rejected, schools should recode the file MMMMMMM. School should contact the school rejecting the CTF to ascertain why the file was refused. If the pupil did not enroll at the school as expected then both schools have a duty to investigate. 

Schools must check S2S regularly to look for the CTFs of newly admitted pupils. If a new pupil is admitted, and the CTF is not available or the previous school attended by the pupil remains unidentified, then schools should contact the designated Lost Pupil User (see Local Contacts) who can then retrieve the pupil CTF from the secure area known as the Lost Pupil Database (if it has been placed there by the previous school) and forward it to the school.

Information and training on S2S is available from the Information Section.

Schools can look up information on 'Schools in England' by using the Edubase database. This will give the address and telephone number of the school as well as its Department for Education number.


13. The Role of The Local Safeguarding Children Board

For general information on the role of the LSCB, please see Wirral Safeguarding Children Board - Role and Function.

Children who go missing from Education are classed as an extremely vulnerable group and Wirral LSCB has a brief to ensure that staff in all member organisations have access to training to recognise and meet the needs of this particular group.

The LSCB runs a course twice yearly on 'Missing/Young Runaways' which gives advice and guidance on how best to safeguard children/young people in this situation.

Further information can be found on the Wirral LSCB website.


14. The Role of The School Admissions Team

The Admissions Service has responsibility for:

  1. The co-ordination of admissions to reception classes, ensuring, in co-operation with primary admission authorities, that no more than a single offer of a reception class place is made to applicants for Wirral Schools;
  2. the co-ordination of admission arrangements for pupils transferring from primary to secondary school, ensuring, in co-operation with secondary admission authorities and other Local Authorities, that Wirral-resident pupils receive no more than a single offer of a secondary school place;
  3. processing requests for mid-year admissions and school transfers,
  4. identifying, through the Authority's data systems and other agencies, those children who require the allocation of a school place for the major intakes at reception and secondary transfer but, also, in respect of other school years.

To contribute to the work of ensuring that all pupils are on a school roll and attending school, the Admissions Service works as follows:

  1. Prioritises work on the allocation of school places for Children in Public Care/LAC;
  2. ensures that advice about admissions and support with the application procedure is readily available for families new to the area;
  3. carefully considers each request for a transfer of school, ensuring that parents are aware of the implications of a change of school and discouraging the request where appropriate;
  4. ensures, at every opportunity, that parents are advised not to withdraw their children from school without first having secured an alternative school place;
  5. identifies pupils who are out of school and unable to readily benefit from a mainstream school placement so that consideration may be given to other appropriate placements;
  6. contributes to the maintenance of an efficient pupil database which, following liaison with schools and parents as necessary, records the school places offered and those taken up or declined;
  7. shares information with other LAs and admission authorities regarding individual pupil placements within their schools;
  8. investigates with parents and schools, as necessary, those cases where pupils fail to take up school places or where it becomes evident that a pupil is not on a school roll and is living in Wirral the pupil is subsequently referred to the ESWS Missing Pupil Officer;
  9. follows-up and monitors the outcome of admission referrals made to the authority's schools.


15. The Role of The Education Social Welfare Service (Esws)

The Education Social Welfare Service seeks to ensure that every child/young person receives the maximum benefit from the education opportunities provided by the Local Authority. The Service utilises a range of strategies and interventions, working in partnership with children and young people, parents and families, school staff and other agencies to overcome barriers to education and achieve improved outcomes. The Service also collects, collates and analyses attendance data from schools and supports and challenges school staff in their efforts to improve attendance.

The Education Social Welfare Service works within a legal framework and is directly concerned to enable   the Local Authority to discharge its legal obligations. Particularly, the Service is concerned to ensure that the relevant legislation is applied for the benefit of children fairly and equally.

The Service provides a named Education Social Worker to support each school in improving attendance. The amount of time allocated to each school is dependent on need taking into account authorised and unauthorised absence, number of pupil sessions missed, proportion of Free School Meals, number of pupils with Special Educational Needs, and other relevant factors. Each school receives an annual audit on attendance and is supported in producing an Action Plan to improve attendance.

The Service is involved in a number of strategies which impact on school attendance. These include:

  • Engaging all schools in the Persistent Absence Agenda, which is a national strategy aimed at reducing the proportion of pupils whose level of school attendance falls below 80%;
  • Contributing to the Wirral's eleven multidisciplinary Area Teams, assisting in the delivery of the Team Around The Child Model and ensuring school attendance remains a priority within developing services;
  • Managing the collection, collation, and analysis of school attendance data;
  • Coordinating Truancy Sweeps and liaising with Merseyside Police;
  • Contributing to the Antisocial Behaviour Team, Respect Panels, Anti-Social Behaviour Governance Group and Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Committee (MARAC);
  • Contributing to the Local Safeguarding Children Board and working with other agencies to ensure children are protected;
  • Improving the attendance of Looked After Children and contributing to the Virtual School;
  • Safeguarding children and young people against the dangers of illegal employment and raising awareness of the risks of child employment;
  • Identifying and tracking children not receiving a suitable education;
  • Contributing to the resolution of school exclusion issues;
  • Assisting in the assessment of children who may have special educational needs;
  • Contributing to the multidisciplinary Solutions Team to support the behaviour and attendance of pupils in our special schools with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD);
  • Contributing to Wirral's Youth Offending Service in the assessment, support and supervision of young offenders and those at risk of offending;
  • Contributing to the Integrated Youth Support Strategy;
  • Contributing to the Department's five Every Child Matters Outcome Groups, particularly the Staying Safe and Enjoy and Achieve Groups;
  • Contributing to the monitoring of children who are educated at home;
  • Contributing to the Local Authority's work on bullying;
  • Liaising with Wirral Magistrate's Courts, issuing Fixed Penalty Notices and prosecuting parents who fail to ensure their children attend school regularly;
  • The Pressure Point Support Project which provides flexible early intervention to support children and families in need in some of Wirral's most deprived wards;
  • The Konnecta Bus Project is operated in partnership with the Youth Service and a number of other partner agencies and provides outreach support to young people out of school, helping them to overcome barriers to education.

The Service identifies and tracks children missing from education and includes the Missing Pupils Officer who coordinates Wirral's Out Of School Register (OOS) database, monitors the national Lost Pupil Database and reports each quarter to the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB). Together with an Education Social Worker (ESW) she will liaise with all appropriate agencies including schools, relatives, neighbours, Housing, Social Care, Police and other Local Authorities to track the whereabouts of the child until they return to education.

The Service monitors and supports the attendance of Looked after Children (LAC) and contributes directly to the Virtual School Staff Group. The LAC Attendance Officer supports pupils whose attendance is problematic and contributes to monthly meetings with the Virtual School Head Teacher where the attendance of all Looked After Children is reviewed via the ONE attendance monitoring system.

The Service supports the education of young people supervised by the Youth Justice System and seconds an Education Social Worker to the Youth Offending Service. His role includes providing a link between Education Social Welfare Service and the Youth Offending Service, providing advice and guidance on education matters, supervising Parenting Orders, and education planning for young people in custody.

The Service contributes to the monitoring of children who are educated at home and oversees a database recording their details. An Education Social Worker visits the family within two weeks of being informed of the parents' intention to educate their child at home. During this visit they will discuss with the parent the reasons for their choice to educate their child at home, their rights and responsibilities, and the support available. Within three months an Education Consultant will offer to visit to assess the child's educational progress. If progress is unsatisfactory the options available will be discussed. Progress will be reviewed at least on an annual basis and more frequently if deemed necessary.

The Service also monitors and supports the education of the children of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) families who visit Wirral. An Education Social Worker will visit GRT families who come to the Wirral and will make enquiries about the education provision for any children of school age. If required, places will be arranged at local schools.


16. The Role of Multidisciplinary Area Teams

If there is a belief that a child may benefit from a multi-agency coordinated response, this must be discussed with the child/young person and a Common Assessment Framework (CAF) completed.


17. The Role of the Virtual School and the Looked After Children Education Support Team

The Looked After Children Education Support Team (LACES) monitors the educational progress of Looked After children to identify those who are in danger of not achieving in line with their ability, and prioritises services to them. Regular attendance is seen as a key factor in achievement.

The Team receives a regular update on attendance of children in care from Education Social Welfare Service (ESWS) This is used to identify those pupils who are having attendance difficulties. In the first instance a LACES Teacher will follow problems up with school, foster carer, social worker and the young person to ascertain reasons and possible strategies to ensure good attendance. This may lead to allocation of learning mentor support from within the team or to a referral to ESWS. A letter of concern may be sent to the carer and good attendance is recognized through a letter or commendation. If there are persistent attendance difficulties this will be discussed at a Personal Education Plan (PEP) Meeting and strategies agreed.

The Virtual School receives a half termly report on the attendance of children in care and is in a position to influence service delivery through providing information to senior officers and members.


18. The Role of Wirral Alternative School Programme

Wirral Alternative School Programme (WASP)) is Wirral's Pupil Referral Unit and was established in 2005. It has 20 Key Stage 3 places and 60 Key Stage 4 places and fulfills the Local Authority's duty to provide 25 hours of quality education to pupils educated other than at school (EOTAS). Pupils include those who have been permanently excluded from mainstream schools and those subject to managed moves, pupils moved from special schools either within the borough or out of borough, pupils released from secure provision, and other vulnerable or challenging Looked After Children and Year 11 pupils.

At Key Stage 3 there is an emphasis on supported reintegration to other schools. At Key Stage 4 pupils complete GCSEs, BTECs, NVQs and work experience leading to vocational qualifications.


19. The Role of Wirral Hospital School

Children and young people who have or develop medical needs through illness or injury continue to need education.  They should be encouraged to participate in every aspect of education that is possible within the limits of their incapacity, thus minimising disruption to the continuity of their education and peer relationships.

Education is a normal activity in the lives of children and young people who are enduring the trauma of illness or injury. Each pupil in this position needs to be treated as an individual, with individual needs and wishes.  However, all pupils in this situation require support and guidance regardless of where they are educated.

Wirral Hospitals' School has 4 divisions:
  • Joseph Paxton Campus which is a community base providing part-time education for children and young people who cannot attend their mainstream school for a variety of medical reasons;
  • The Seedlings group which provides continuing education for pregnant school-girls and school-aged mothers and personal support for teenage fathers;
  • Ward School at Arrowe Park Hospital which provides continuing education whilst children and young people are in-patients;
  • Adcote House Health-Education classrooms which offers education whilst children and young people are assessed by Child and Family Services (CAMHS).

The Home Education Service is a Local Authority centrally funded service and is also managed by the Head Teacher of Wirral Hospitals' School.  It is available to all Wirral children of statutory school age who are away from school due to their medical needs.

There may be circumstances when a child or young person with a Education, Health and Care Plan requires individual support e.g. following exclusion from a Special School, awaiting a placement at a Special School.  In these events the Local Authority, through the Principle Exclusions Officer, will request Individual tuition through the Home Education Service.

There may also be occasions when schools are concerned for the well being and mental health of a young person mean that they judge the pupil would benefit from the personalised and bespoke education package that can be offered by the Home Education Service e.g. pending the outcome of the Admissions Panel for a place at Joseph Paxton Campus.


20. The Role of The Youth and Play Service

Wirral Youth Service provides opportunities, which are open to all Wirral young people.  The Service's age range is 13-19 years.  Youth work helps young people learn about themselves, others and society, through informal educational activities which combine fun, challenge and learning.

Through providing a range of activities in young people's leisure time the Service is able to identify any at risk young people and refer then to appropriate agencies.  In addition, through the Response agency vulnerable young people are able to access a range of advice, support and information.

The Play Service provides six all year round open access play settings for children 5 -14 years at various local community venues. The Play service also works in conjunction with the voluntary play sector through Wirral Play Council to deliver  a comprehensive summer programme consisting of 25 summer holiday play-schemes. It provides an outreach play service, Community Play Rangers and Play Practitioner project. There is also a specific play facility for children with special needs.

In each play setting, children engage in freely chosen play opportunities which help them to develop essential life skills. The Playwork approach is sometimes one of low intervention and high response. This style of working aims to support, rather than direct children in their play. Playworkers endeavour to facilitate an environment based on children's wants and need, which stimulates their creativity whilst maximising their potential.

Open access play provision can provide positive ways to work with the most challenging and marginalised children. Playworkers, as significant adults, offer children support, practical help and opportunities for social and personal development.


21. The Role of The Youth Offending Service

The role of the Youth Offending Service (YOS) is to prevent offending by children and young people. The prevention of crime and the fear of crime are the aim of all youth justice agencies ensuring that services are targeted at children and young people at high risk of offending and meet the needs of the victims and communities.  This is done by ensuring young people (YP) who do offend are dealt with without delay, and promoting interventions with young people that reduce the risk factors, increase the protective factors and reinforce the responsibilities of parents.  

 The YOS works with partners to help secure access to employment, education and training (ETE) in the community, as well as for the transition from custody to the community.

This process is assisted by the thorough assessments called Onset and ASSET, the information is gathered not in isolation but working closely with other agencies, is assessed by YOS workers trained and experienced in working with young people who are at risk or involved in the criminal justice system. This information assists workers to make judgments that identify the young person's level of need, and make decisions that will help that young person turn their lives around. It also identifies the needs, status and risks of that YP so as workers at YOS can make the appropriate internal referral to specialist workers such as e.g.: ESW, Connexions, and drug misuse workers. 

The Wirral YOS link into the Wirral Corporate objectives and the Every Child Matters outcomes related to education (regular attendance, appropriate education), economic wellbeing (the availability of opportunities and initiatives, so that YP are not held back by disadvantage at any time in their lives), making positive contribution (engaging in law abiding positive behaviour, successfully deal with significant changes and challenges in life), as well as the YOS ETE targets (90% take up), set by the Youth Justice Board to identify the performance targets for ETE section of YOS.

It is the YOS ESW's role to work with young people and their families to make sure that each YP has the opportunity of getting the full time education they deserve. This is done through liaising closely with the Education Authority, and support agencies such as Connexions, Social Care services, and the Police. The ESW feeds back information to the YP's case manager to up-date the YOS information system keeping information current and making ASSET a reliable tool for planning and delivering interventions for YOS and other external practitioners.   

The primary role of the YOS ESW and Connexion workers is to advocate and broker access to ETE, strategically and on behalf of the YP. The ESW works closely with the YOS attached specialist Connexions workers, specifically with Year 11 pupils on the ETE programme to support advise and guide YP from compulsory education, not exclusively mainstream but also alternative education programmes and vocational education programmes, into the work place and or training providers. This work is supported by the ETE Link Mentoring scheme, which if required and appropriate provides a YP with an individual worker to support and guide them through planning and commencing provision to avoid placement breakdown and build independence skills, thus enhancing their self-esteem making them more self-reliant and independent.    

This important intervention is critical; participation in school, college and the attainment of work related skills are major protective factors in offending and re-offending.

YOS may be involved in the delivery of interventions where these for part of the overall children's services provision, however, primarily the role of YOS is to broker and support to ensure YP have access to appropriate services at appropriate times. 


22. The Role of Connexions

The Connexions Service is a free and confidential service offering access to impartial information, advice, guidance and support to all young people aged 13-19 in the Wirral area (up to 25 for young people with special educational needs). Personal advisers from the Connexions Service can provide information on education, employment and training opportunities. They can also support young people to tackle any barriers that may be preventing them from achieving their full potential.

Personal advisers from the Connexions Service are available in every school in the Wirral area to help young people:

  • Review their skills and achievements;
  • Talk about their career interests
  • Tackle any barriers to progression; and
  • Make the best choices to meet their abilities, needs and ambitions.

Personal advisers are also available at the four Wirral Career Connect. The Connexions service also works from outreach venues and in partnership with the Local Authority Children and Young People's Department, Job Centre Plus, the Benefits Agency and the Voluntary Community and Faith sector alongside learning providers and employers in Wirral.

It is the role of the Connexions personal adviser to give information on all issues that young people may need, tailored to individual circumstances. The majority of this information will be about overcoming barriers to participation, signposting young people to appropriate services and providing continued support.

Young people also have access to Connexions Direct and the Connexions website.

One of the tasks of every Connexions Partnership is contacting every young person, pre-or post-16, who is not in education, employment or training.  Each young person has a Connexions personal adviser who is working closely with them, maintaining contact and providing whatever help they need directly or by referral.  Although their problems may be complex, the Connexions Personal Adviser will support them in dealing with barriers to participation. 

The Connexions Service maintains a tracking database of all Wirral young people 13-19 registered with us from Year 9 which is the Connexions Customer Information System (CCIS). CCIS has become a very reliable source of data providing dynamic and comprehensive information on the movement of young people, their progress and needs.  An essential feature of this system is the ability to segment information and data to a neighbourhood, school and demographic level to provide forensic intelligence that informs improvements in the quality of interventions. The Connexions Service tracks all young people to age 19 (and beyond in some cases) and reports on levels of 'not known'. Levels in Wirral are low (under 3% of 16-18 year olds destination/status was not known in Wirral as reported in June 2009) and exceed local, regional and national benchmarks.


23. The Role of Other Agencies

Although a number of services from within the Local Authority are mentioned by name within this document, the list is far from exhaustive and it is essential that all stakeholders within and beyond Children's Trusts work together to identify and support children who are at risk of not receiving a suitable education. Merseyside Police, Wirral Health Authority, a wide range of faith and voluntary sector organizations and many local and national agencies all have a vital role to play.

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