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Children going missing during school

Trinity Christian School takes the safety of children very seriously and will take every precaution necessary to ensure that the children in their care do not leave a session unaccompanied.

In the unlikely event that a child is noted to be missing from school premises, the school puts into practice agreed procedures. These ensure the most effective resolution of this potentially distressing situation.

Many of our school routines and procedures are in place to contribute to the prevention of a child going missing and to ensuring the safety and security of all children at all times. 

If, in the event of a member of staff not being able to account for a child’s whereabouts, the following action will be taken:

Stage One – Search systematically

• All available staff to immediately check toilets, shared areas, rooms and playground to ensure the child is not hiding or locked in anywhere. 

• A member of staff should check with the office immediately to see whether the child has been signed out for an external appointment or has an internal appointment with a visiting professional. (School Nurse/Speech Therapist etc) 

• A member of staff should gather the class and call the register to confirm that one named child is missing. 

• Staff will ensure that all other pupils are kept safe and closely supervised throughout incident should it be during the school day. Calm should be kept in the event of a child reported missing at the end of the school day. 

Stage Two 

• If there is no resolution from Stage one (no more than 10 minutes), inform the Headteacher or another SLT member of staff whowill contact the police and the responsible parents/carers.
At this point, school will support the police who will now lead the response to this incident. The Headteacher will liaise with emergency services and parents/carers. 

• Staff will call registers in all classes to confirm presence of other pupils.

Stage Three 

• The Headteacher will contact the Chair of Governors (no more than 30 minutes). 

• A written record of the incident and any action taken should be made as soon as, after the incident, as practicable and placed in the pupil’s confidential record.

• The Senior Leadership Team should conduct an internal investigation to establish how the situation occurred, how effective was the response and whether action could be taken to ensure it does not happen again. This information should also be collected in writing and sent to the Chair of Governors

If the Headteacher is not on the premises, the office will ring the Chair of Governors.

Dealing with people’s reactions

We accept that in such circumstances powerful emotions are involved and people’s behaviour can be unpredictable. Those who may seem quite calm about the incident at the time can later become angry, threaten legal action or approach the local press.

We will be clear about the circumstances surrounding the incident and will respond sympathetically to questions without implications or admission of responsibility. 

Dealing with the media

Distressed parents/carers may contact the local press, or reporters may hear about the incident if the police are involved. It is sensible for one person, usually the Headteacher or Chair of Governors to be the one who speaks for the setting.  All adults will be asked to refer all enquiries to the agreed spokesperson.

The spokesperson for the setting is: Mr Michael Stewart.

The Senior Leadership Team are Mr Chris O’Gorman and Mrs Claire Bamford

When the child is found

We recognise that during the time a child is missing, however briefly, all involved, parents/carers and others suffer great fear, guilt and distress. It is not always easy to control all these emotions when the child is found.

We will accept that it is important to remember:

  • That the child also might have been afraid and distressed and might now be in need of comfort.
  • Remain calm, reassure the child and acknowledge it is not the child’s fault.
  • Ensure the child is not hurt.
  • That the incident provides a good opportunity to talk to all the children to ensure that they understand that they must not leave the premises, and why.
  • After the Incident we will review our current procedure.
  • We will evaluate processes and make necessary adjustments to ensure future effectiveness.

Contacts

Tameside Police: 0161 872 5050

Tameside Safeguarding Children’s Board: 0161 342 4101 (Out of hours: 0161 342 2222)

This policy should be read with the Count in/Count Out Policy