Lost Child Policy and procedures

The policy has regard for The Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014, Part 3.

It is a whole school policy and includes children in EYFS.


It should be read in conjunction with:

The Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy

Health and Safety Policy

The safety of all children will be given the highest priority. Staff must always be aware of the potential for children to go missing.


All staff must be aware of the procedures to be followed if a child goes missing. Every care is taken to ensure that all children are kept safe. Risk assessments are carried out to ensure that the school and setting is as safe as possible and children should never be allowed to leave the premises on their own. It is possible, however, that despite all precautions a child cannot be accounted for and goes missing. This policy is designed to put in place swift and effective actions to locate any missing child and to notify and involve parents and the authorities at the appropriate point.


Preventative Procedures

  1. Systems must be in place to ensure that children do not go missing. This includes ensuring that all exits are kept closed.
  2. Children must be made aware of the boundaries of the school.
  3. Children must be supervised at all times and there must be sufficient staff available to ensure this happens.
  4. Head counts should take place regularly through the day and particularly when a class has been out of the classroom.
  5. Parents/carers must sign their children in and out if they come to or leave school at times other than normal start and finish times.
  6. Children will not be allowed to leave the school with anyone other than the authorised persons unless the school has been informed otherwise and that alternative person is identified.
  7. Any visitors to school will be signed in and out. They must be let into the school by a member of staff; also seen off the premises by a member of staff to ensure that no doors are left open and the safety of the children is maintained.


Reactive Procedures if a child goes missing


  1. If a child cannot be found by their teacher/lunchtime supervisor, the Headteacher (or deputy Headteacher) must be notified immediately and told when and where the child was last seen. Time is of the essence and prompt action must be taken by all.
  2. The remaining children will be left in the care of a suitable adult(s). All other staff will conduct a thorough search of the premises (child’s classroom, storage areas, toilets,) and the school grounds, with the staff team being careful not to create an atmosphere of panic.
  3. Gather all staff and children together, take the register and ask if the child has been seen.
  4. The Headteacher/deputy Headteacher will nominate two staff members to search the area in the immediate vicinity of the school. All staff will be extra vigilant to any potentially suspicious behaviour or persons in and around the school site.
  5. If after a reasonable time (approx 10/15 minutes) of thorough searching, the child is still missing, the police must be called by the Headteacher/deputy Headteacher.
  6. If the child is not found, the child’s parents/carer will be contacted by the Headteacher/deputy Headteacher and informed of the situation.
  7. While waiting for the police and the parent / carer to arrive, searches for the child will continue. During this period, the other members of staff will maintain as normal a routine as possible for the rest of the children in the school.
  8. The Headteacher/deputy Headteacher will be responsible for meeting the police and the missing child’s parent/carer. The Headteacher/ deputy Headteacher will be responsible for co-ordinating any actions instructed by the police and do all they can to comfort and reassure the parents/carers
  9. The LA will be notified by the Headteacher/deputy Headteacher that a child is missing, so that additional support can be provided.
  10. If a member of staff finds the child, the Headteacher must be told at once. Parents, police and other authorities will be notified.
  11. Once the situation has been resolved, a full written account of the incident will be recorded and held on file.
  12. Further risk assessments will be carried out to ensure that the incident does not happen again.

Out of School Visits

During off site visits children are carefully supervised at all times, with members of staff having responsibility for small groups of children.

  • When a group of children is taken out of school, risk assessments must be completed in advance and checked by the Headteacher and the teacher responsible for the outing.
  1. A list of children must be carried by staff on the visit.
  2. Regular head counts will be undertaken by staff.
  3. Children to carry a card with them or wear a wristband which holds school contact details.
  4. Prior to outing all children to be told of the procedures for the day and told the following:
  • Stay close to your group
  • Listen carefully to instructions
  • Do not wander away from your group
  • If separated from their group, do not move, do not go with an adult they do not know.
  • If lost remain where you are and do not go with a stranger. Staff will re-trace steps to find them.


  1. Adult: pupil ratios will be in line with current guidance.
  2. All staff will have a mobile phone.
  3. If a child goes missing the other children will be gathered together and a member of staff assigned to look for the child. An urgent but thorough search should be made of the immediate vicinity.
  4. Find out if child has joined another group
  5. Gather all staff and children together, take the register and ask if the child has been seen.
  6. 2 members of staff check all areas where the child has been; check toilets
  7. If the site has a central office/ desk, go and report the child missing
  8. Ask all persons in the vicinity if they have seen a child in Cedars uniform – giving description of child – age, sex, hair colour, height and uniform and, if available, ask them to make an announcement over a tannoy system.
  9. If the child is not found after approx 10 minutes inform the Head/Deputy Head if they are not present with the group.
  10. Notify the police
  11. When absolutely sure that the child is missing contact the parents/guardian.
  12. Continue the search.
  13. Ensure all other children are safe and calm.
  14. If the child is found, the Headteacher, police and parents must be informed at once.
  15. The School will investigate how the incident occurred and will take appropriate action to ensure that similar events do not happen again.



Date policy adopted 01/04/14
Reviewed 01/04/15


Reviewed 01/12/17





Policy adopted by Jane O’Halloran

Head Teacher

Next review due September 2021