William Tyrrell could still be alive, a court has heard.

It isn’t possible to conclude that missing NSW boy William Tyrrell is dead based on the current evidence, a court has heard.

A directions hearing was held at Glebe Coroner’s Court on Wednesday ahead of an inquest into the three-year-old’s disappearance and suspected death more than four years ago.

William vanished while playing in his grandmother’s front yard at Kendall, on NSW’s mid-north coast, in September 2014.

The inquest will begin in Sydney in March and will run for a week before deputy state coroner Harriet Grahame, before resuming in August.

Counsel assisting the coroner, Gerard Craddock SC, told Wednesday’s hearing it wasn’t possible – at present – to conclude William was dead.

“The police investigation into his disappearance is ongoing and police are following active leads at present,” Mr Craddock said.

He said William was in foster care and it was that, combined with his disappearance and the circumstances of his disappearance, that meant there was jurisdiction to hold an inquest.

William’s foster parents, who attended the hearing, made no comment as they left the court.