When we issue fixed penalty notices for non-school attendance

Part of: Fixed penalty notice – non-school attendance code of practice

Not attending school regularly

A penalty notice can only be issued where a child is absent without permission from the school.

We issue penalty notices in the following situations (not an exhaustive list):

  • truancy (being absent from education without school permission)
  • being absent from school with parent’s permission
  • taking holidays during term without permission from the headteacher
  • returning late from an extended holiday without the agreement of the headteacher
  • often arriving late to school after the register has closed

We may issue a penalty notice if all the following apply:

  • a registered pupil is absent for 6 or more unauthorised sessions (1 session is a morning or afternoon) in a 6-week period
  • the absences were recorded as unauthorised in the school’s register
  • we are satisfied there is enough evidence to show the parent has committed an offence under S444(1) of the education act 1996
  • a formal warning is given to parents letting them know they have 15 school days to show an improvement in their child’s attendance or a penalty notice may be issued

We may also issue a penalty notice if both:

  • the parent is warned an unauthorised holiday during term may result in a penalty notice
  • a penalty notice has not been issued regarding the child in the last 12 months (if a penalty notice has been issued in the last 12 months, alternative processes are available)

Excluded children in a public place

For the first 5 days of their exclusion, children should not be in a public place without good reason. If we're told this has happened, the school or organisation that tells us must have investigated the situation to find out whether an offence has been committed.

We expect that in the first instance parents are reminded of their responsibilities under the legislation. If the behaviour continues, a penalty notice may be issued.