Inquiry launched into attendance policy at murdered boy's school

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Rory was dropped off by his mother last Thursday at 8.30am for his second day in primary seven at Meldrum School in Livingston, West Lothian, but no one knew he was missing until his grandfather came to collect him at the end of the day.

Three days later, his body was found under an old tent in woodland near his school. He had been asphyxiated.

The death highlights the fact that schools in Scotland, particularly primary schools, do not have a policy of automatically contacting parents if their children fail to attend.

Many parents are now choosing to escort their children to and from Meldrum Primary, fearing Rory's killer will strike again.

The school has faced criticism for not alerting Rory's parents when he failed to turn up.Irene Matier, a member of the national executive of the Association of Head Teachers in Scotland, said schools should review their procedures for checking pupil absences.

West Lothian Council, which covers Rory's school, said it intends to review the policies it has in place. A spokeswoman said: "National policy is to ensure that children receive their education entitlement. Our normal procedure is to await information from parents if a child does not attend. If this information is not provided, we take the initiative by contacting families within two or three days of absence. We will consider the need to review any of our policies and arrangements in light of current events."

She said this would be done in consultation with parents and police.

In March, the Scottish Executive launched a text-messaging alert system in around half of secondary schools, aimed at informing parents if their children failed to turn up.

Meanwhile, police are sifting through more than 600 calls from members of the public in the hope that they will find new leads in the Rory murder case. They set up an email address - - to encourage people to come forward.