Education Penalty Notices
Parents and carers have a legal responsibility to ensure that their child receives full-time education.
Unless you can show that you are providing this yourself, you must ensure that your child attends school regularly and on time. You will be committing an offence if your child fails to attend regularly and punctually, and the school has not given permission for the absence or late arrival.
Only your child’s school can authorise absence or late arrival.
Holidays in term-time
The law requires that the headteacher should not grant approval for any leave of absence during term-time, including holidays, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Parents are not entitled to take their children on holiday in term-time. Such holidays can only be taken with the written approval of the headteacher. Each case will be considered on its own merits and the decision of the headteacher is final.
A penalty notice offers a parent an alternative to prosecution. It requires the parents to pay an amount for their child's irregular attendance to avoid a court appearance.
The fine is £120 to be paid within 28 days. If the fine is paid within 21 days, it will be reduced to £60.
A penalty notice will normally be sent by first class post to your home address.
If you do not pay the fine after 28 days, you may be prosecuted for your child’s absence from school under Section 444 (1) of the Education Act 1996.
Who a parent is
A parent is:
- any natural parent, whether married or not
- any parent who, although they are not a natural parent, has parental responsibility (as defined in the Children Act 1989) for a child or young person
- any person who, although not a natural parent, has care of a child or young person - having care of a child or young person means that a person with whom the child lives and who looks after the child, irrespective of what their relationship is with the child is considered to be a parent in education law.
Parents who are separated
For parents who are separated, we would only request a penalty notice for the parent who has taken the child on holiday. In some cases, parents have not notified the school of the change of circumstance, it is the parent’s responsibility to update the school of any changes in circumstances.
Days a penalty notice can be issued for
A penalty notice can only be issued in cases of unauthorised absence for a pupil where at least 8 sessions (4 school days) are lost due to unauthorised absences in any 100 session (50 school day) period. This period is only relevant where leave of absence in term time is taken.
Appealing a penalty notice
There is no right of appeal once a fixed penalty notice has been issued.
We can only withdraw a penalty notice in certain circumstances:
- It should not have been issued (for example, if the child was actually at school).
- It has been issued to the wrong person.
- If it appears to the local authority that it contains material errors.
If you believe that one of these circumstances applies, you should email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible with evidence to support your view, or if you wish to make general representations you should contact the issuing school or academy.