Children’s safety is maintained as the highest priority at all times, both on and off the premises. Every attempt is made through carrying out the outings procedure and the exit/entrance procedure to ensure the security of the children is maintained at all times. In the unlikely event of a child going missing, our missing child procedure is followed.
- As soon as a child is reported missing, the teacher in charge alerts the Principal.
- The Principal or School Secretary calls the police and reports the child as missing and then calls the parent. The teacher in charge will carry out a thorough search of the building and grounds.
- The register is checked to make sure no other child has also gone astray.
- Doors and gates are checked to see if there has been a breach of security whereby a child could wander out.
- The teacher talks to other staff to find out when and where the child was last seen and records this.
This describes what to do when staff have taken a small group on an outing, leaving the setting leader and/or other staff back in the setting. If the setting leader has accompanied children on the outing, the procedures are adjusted accordingly.
What to do when a child goes missing from a whole setting outing may be a little different, as parents usually attend and are responsible for their own child.
- As soon as it is noticed that a child is missing, staff on the outing ask children to stand with their designated carer and carry out a headcount to ensure that no other child has gone astray. One staff member searches the immediate vicinity, but does not search beyond that.
- The Principal is contacted immediately
- The teacher in charge contacts the police and reports the child as missing.
- The lead teacher contacts the parent, who makes their way to the setting.
- Staff take the remaining children back to the setting.
- In an indoor venue, the staff will contact the venue’s security who will then handle the search and contact the police if the child is not found.
- A designated staff member may be advised by the police to stay at the venue until they arrive.
- Staff keep calm and do not let the other children become anxious or worried.
- The teacher and/or Principal speaks with the parent(s).
- The school carries out a full investigation, taking written statements from all the staff in the room or who were on the outing.
- The key person/staff member writes an incident report detailing:
- The date and time of the report.
- What staff/children were in the group/outing and the name of the staff designated responsible for the missing child
- When the child was last seen in the group/outing?
- What had taken place in the group or outing since the child went missing
- The time that it is estimated that the child went missing.
- A conclusion is drawn as to how the breach of security happened.
- If the incident warrants a police investigation, all staff co-operate fully. In this case, the police will handle all aspects of the investigation, including interviewing staff. Children’s Social Care may be involved if it seems likely that there is a child protection issue to address.