Parents or carers have a legal responsibility to make sure that their child is educated, but this does not have to be in school.
The law states:
“Every parent with children of compulsory school age must make sure that their children receive efficient full-time education suitable to their age aptitude and ability (and to any special education needs they may have) either by attending school or otherwise.”
Compulsory being the term after your child’s 5th birthday up to the last Friday in the month of June in the academic year of their 16th birthday.
Unless you can show that you are making your own arrangements for your child to be educated other than at school, you must ensure your child attends school regularly. You will be committing an offence if your child fails to attend school regularly without good reason or without the headteacher's permission. Only your child's school can authorise an absence.
In the 1996 Act, a parent is defined as either:
Warnings will be issued directly by schools. The number of warnings may vary from school to school. Contact your child's school for further details.
Parents are not entitled to take their children on leave during term time. Leave may only be taken with written approval from the headteacher. A penalty notice may be issued for any term-time leave which hasn't been authorised by the headteacher.
A penalty notice requires the parent(s) to pay a fixed amount as a fine for their child's irregular attendance and avoid legal proceedings.
View and download the Fixed Penalty Notices code of conduct for schools (pdf, 163 KB)
The fine is £60 to be paid within 21 days and is for each parent of each child. The 21 day period begins from the date shown on the Penalty Notice. If the fine isn't paid within 21 days, it rises to £120 for a further 7 days. If it's still not paid, the matter may then be sent for prosecution (not for the unpaid fine but the original offence).
The penalty notice will be sent to your home.
All payments are to be paid directly to Achieving for Children as outlined on the penalty notice form.
There's no right of appeal once the penalty notice has been issued. You may face a prosecution in the Magistrates' Court for your child's non-attendance should you fail to pay the penalty notice fine.
Updated: 12 April 2018