What is an education penalty notice
A Fixed Penalty Notice is a fine issued to parents or carers and can be either £60 per parent or carer, per child (if the payment is made within 21 days of receipt) or £120 per parent or carer , per child (if paid after this, but within 28 days). Fixed Penalty Notices are issued by post to your home and will explain how and where to send your payment. You must pay the whole of the amount owing in one payment. You cannot pay in instalments or part of the amount.
The Law - Litigation and Corporate Team
Education Act 1996 section 444
Children Act 1989 ESO (paragraph 18(1), Schedule 3, Children Act 1989
Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003
School Attendance Prosecutions
If a parent fails to get their child to regularly attend school, the School and the Local
Authority (LA) should make reasonable efforts to resolve the problem before resorting
to legal action. If, however, it becomes apparent that all other avenues have been
explored, the information below gives information regarding the legal landscape the
offences fall within.
LAs have the power to prosecute parents who:
• Fail to ensure their child’s regular attendance at school (section 444, Education
Act (EA) 1996)
• Knowingly allow their child to be absent from school without authorisation
(section 444(1A), EA 1996)
• Persistently fail to comply with directions given under an Education Supervision
Order (ESO) ((paragraph 18(1), Schedule 3, Children Act 1989)
Only the LA can prosecute parents for the offences found in section 444 of the
Education Act 1996 (section 446, EA 1996) and they must fund all associated costs.
Failure to ensure a child’s regular attendance at school (sec 444(1))
Parents are guilty of an offence for failing to ensure that their child regularly attends
school (section 444(1) and (ZA), EA 1996).
With regards to the section 444(1) offence, the LA will need to prove to the criminal
standard that the child is a registered pupil at a relevant school and that he is of
compulsory school age and has failed to regularly attend school without authorisation.
The only evidence that the LA will need to provide the court with, is the certificate of
attendance and why an Education Supervision Order (ESO) is not appropriate.
Knowingly allowing a child to be absent from school without authorisation (sec
It is regarded as a more serious offence when a parent knowingly allows a child to
be absent from school without authorisation (section 444(1A), EA 1996). In such
circumstances, the LA will need to show that the child failed to regularly attend school
without authorisation, and that the parents knew and failed, without reasonable
justification, to ensure that their child regularly attended school.
The EA 1996 does not define “reasonable justification” but case law tells us that it is
to be approached as a perfectly understandable English expression and that it was
unnecessary for every single avenue to be explored to ensure that a child received
“schooling”, as that was immaterial to attendance at school. ‘Reasonable justification”
seems to be a question of fact relating to the child’s attendance at school and is,
therefore, to be looked at in that context.