Westward School

Missing Child Policy

This policy covers the Main school, EYFS and the Westward Out of School Care facilities



* Formal registration is taken in the morning at 8.55am and then again at 1.30pm in the afternoon.

(Refer to the Attendance Policy)

* Pupils that leave during school hours are signed out by a member of staff or parent/carer in the signing in/out book by the front door.

(Refer to the Arrival, Dismissal and Collection of Children Policy)

* Registers are also taken in the Out of School Care facilities and After School clubs.

* The staff maintain the appropriate high level of supervision throughout the day and are aware of the location of the children in their care at all times.

* When on excursions outside of the school premises, staff implement strategies to maximise safety and security of children in accordance with the School's Health and Safety Policy.


School's Responsibilities

In the unlikely event that a child goes missing the following basic measures will be taken to try to locate the child, prior to reporting the child as missing: 

  • Staff to maintain the safety and well being of other children.
  • Inform the Headteacher or in their absence the Head of Lower School.
  • Speak to friends who might know where the child has gone or currently is located.
  • Ensure that the child is not on the school premises by searching relevant area's where they may be located. A member of the Senior Management Team and at least one other member of staff will search the immediate vicinity.
  •  If off-site, one teacher will remain with the group of children whilst the other teacher will search the immediate vicinity for the missing child. Help will be requested at the venue where the group is assembled.
  • Parents of the child will be contacted and informed about the missing episode and a check made to establish whether the child has returned home from school.
  • If a child is found during these enquiries then a full investigation will take place at school, which the Headteacher will chair. A Risk Assessment will be carried out and any recommendations made by the investigation team will then be implemented into school policy.


    (Refer to Risk Assessment Policy for Pupil Welfare)


***** However, if there is any cause to believe that the child may have been harmed or is at risk of being harmed, has a history of missing episodes or is known to be at risk of exploitation, then the police must be called immediately on 999 *****


Any reporting to the police will be made by a member of the senior management team - typically this will be the Designated Safeguarding Lead who is also the Head Teacher.


  •  If the child cannot be found then the school will contact the police, providing as much information as possible, including;

* Name/DOB/Any Alias

* 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

  • The school will inform the police of any changes or updates to this information, particularly where this may alter the level of risk.


Police Response


Upon notification the uniformed Duty Inspector will be responsible for assessing the level of risk and directing the investigation accordingly. Where a child is deemed to be High Risk, then a Detective Inspector may take on responsibility.

The investigation will be appropriate to the level of risk and will be in accordance with the College of Policing Approved Professional Practice Guidance on Missing Children.

The school will notify the Police ASAP should the child return or be located. The Police in turn will 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 being 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.


Last Updated

August 2021