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Directors want help to track lost pupils

The Association of Directors of Education in Scotland has called on the Scottish Executive to review procedures governing the transfer of pupils between authorities following the murder of Inverness schoolgirl Danielle Reid.

The Executive says it is open to suggestions.

The association offered its condolences to the family of the murdered girl, who attended Crown primary in the city. Danielle, a P1 pupil, did not return after the October holiday and the school was informed she would be moving to the Manchester area. No forwarding address was left.

Her body was recovered from the Caledonian Canal last week and three people, including her mother, have been charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice in relation to her disappearance.

Questions have been raised about why Highland Council did not investigate the circumstances sooner. Education directors said in a statement that the case illustrated the need for all agencies to work together with families to ensure the safety of children.

Gordon Jeyes, general secretary of the ADES, said: "It is accepted practice that it is the receiving school which requests the records. If no request is made within a given period, further enquiries may be made. There is no statutory basis for these arrangements.

"This case illustrates the need to review the position and to ensure that there is full knowledge of a child's location and safety."

The child protection committee in Highland has announced that a "critical incident review" will look at the work of all the agencies in the case. An Executive spokesperson said it had asked to be informed on the issues surrounding the "loophole" which allows pupils to move school without being tracked.

"Once the full facts are known, we will look at what lessons, if any, need to be learnt and take any action necessary," he said.

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