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Inspection and Advisory Service (HIAS)

Possible penalties for non-attendance

Once you have registered your child at a school it is your responsibility to make sure that she/he attends regularly and punctually. If you fail to do so the Local Authority has a statutory duty to consider legal action to enforce school attendance.

There are a number of legal measures that the Local Authority can pursue, these include:

  • being issued a voluntary parenting contract

  • being included in the fast track system which means you will be given 12 weeks to improve your child's attendance

  • receiving a penalty notice. This is a fine of £60 per parent/carer for periods of unauthorised absence such as truancy, holidays in term time, lateness,unauthorised absence during formal exams, schools assessment or testing or poor patterns of attendance/punctuality

  • being prosecuted in the Magistrates’ Court. This means you could receive a community order, a fine of up to £2,500 per parent/carer or a custodial sentence

  • your child being issued with an education supervision order. This is an order where the child attends court and certain measures are put in place regarding attendance at school.   

Term time absence: Isle of Wight Council v Platt – this case has now gone to appeal.

The law regarding authorisation has not changed, schools should still not authorise absence in term time for holidays unless they consider the circumstances are exceptional based on the NAHT guidance.

The DfE has recently written to all schools clarifying the current position, see Copy of letter sent by Nick Gibb, Minister of State for Schools to all schools in the England and Wales Download Acrobat Reader to view this PDF 96kb