We work in partnership with schools and families to promote and support children, young people and families in ensuring regular school attendance and achievement.
If you are worried about the attendance of your child you should speak to the school. Every school will have a clear policy on school attendance including the procedure of how lateness is dealt with, sickness is recorded and requesting absence from school during term time.
Paying a penalty fine
Pay penalty fine online
The government has issued new guidance on managing absence in relation to instances of student absence relating directly to Covid 19. We will be adhering to this guidance for as long as it is in place. Therefore, if a Headteacher records an absence as due to a Covid 19 response, this absence is recorded as authorised and would not lead to the imposition of a penalty notice (fine).
Further information can be found through the Gov.uk website.
Frequently asked questions
- Within the current regulations there is no statutory right of appeal against issuing of a penalty notice. Once a penalty notice has been issued it can only be withdrawn if it can be found that it was incorrectly issued.
- The dates on the penalty notice are between dates and therefore may cover a wider period than the unauthorised absence.
- On the 6th April 2017 the Supreme Court ruled in the Isle of Wight Council v Platt case, that regular attendance at school meant that a parent must ensure their child attends school every day on which it is open.
- Previous regular attendance is not a factor in considering whether to issue a penalty notice or not in this instance. (see above)
- The Education Act 1996, makes it clear that each parent is responsible for their child’s attendance, therefore, each parent individually receives a penalty notice.
- The natural parents of a child, whether they are married or not. Any person who has parental responsibility for a child. Anyone who has the care of a child i.e. lives with and looks after the child. (section 576 of the Education Act 1996)
- Penalty notices have to be paid in full within the time specified in the notice, we are unable to accept part payments or agree a payment plan.
- Please ensure that your cheque is made payable to Staffordshire County Council. We cannot accept payment if the payee is incorrect and your fine will remain unpaid.
Requesting a leave of absence in term time
Amendments to the Education Regulations 2006 make it clear that head teachers should only grant a leave of absence during term time if there are exceptional circumstances to justify this.
Amendments to the 2006 regulations also removed references to family holiday and extended leave as well as the statutory threshold of ten school days. Head teachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Code of Conduct for issuing Penalty Notices
Regular and punctual attendance at school is both a legal requirement and essential for pupils to maximise their educational opportunities. In recognition of this, the law makes it an offence for a parent or carer to fail to secure the regular attendance of their child at a school at which the child is a registered pupil, without good reason or the agreement of the school.
Penalty notices are one of the sanctions available for this offence and offer a means of swift intervention, which can be used to combat attendance problems before they become entrenched.
Further guidance can be found below;
What to do if your child is ill
Inform the school as soon as possible. Make sure your child takes a note from you on the day they go back.
Getting to school on time
Your child should be at school on time, ready for the register to be called. If your child has a doctor's or dentist's appointment, inform the school beforehand so they know what time to expect them. Your child can still be given a present mark as long as they go for as much of the session as possible.
If your child is late for no valid reason, that counts as unauthorised absence.
What if my child doesn't want to go?
Some children are reluctant to attend school, or look to their parents to provide them with an excuse. Never give in to pressure to let a child stay off school, it may make things worse.
If you are experiencing problems, talk to your child's school as soon as possible. Don't wait until the situation escalates. Most problems can be resolved once the school is made aware of the situation.
If the problems are in school, like bullying or study difficulties, letting your child stay away will only make things more stressful later. Schools can often offer practical ideas to help make things better, but they can't do anything if you don't talk to them and encourage your child to do the same.
What if I think my child is truanting?
If your child is not at school when they should be, the school will be in touch with you. If you have any doubts, ring the school yourself to check that they have arrived. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
What the law says
We have statutory powers under the Education Act 1996 to ensure children attend school and if we cannot successfully engage with the family to achieve this, we may enforce the parents/carers responsibility regarding their child’s school attendance.
The Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 amended section 444 of the Education Act 1996 to allow parents to be issued with a penalty where they failed to ensure their child of compulsory school age (5-16) and school registered regular attendance.
A penalty notice is initially for £60. If this £60 is not paid within 21 days from the date of issue it rises to £120. If, after 28 days of the date of issue the £120 is not paid we will prosecute the parents under section 444(1) of the Education Act 1996. This will lead to a hearing in the Magistrates Court and may result in a fine of up to £1,000.
Getting further advice
If your child's attendance problems can't be resolved easily, your school may ask for help from an Education Welfare Officer.