Unauthorised absence (truancy)
The law states that parent/carer(s) must ensure that their child regularly attends the school where they are registered. Should your child fail to attend school regularly legal action may be taken against you.
Once a child is registered in school, attendance is compulsory until the last Friday in June of the academic year in which the child turns 16 (Year 11). It is a parent’s legal responsibility to ensure that their child, when of statutory school age, accesses education appropriate to age, needs and ability.
Under the terms of the education related provisions of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act, parent/carer(s) may be issued with a Penalty Notice of £60 if:
- You fail to ensure that your child attends school, or other education provision regularly
- You allow your child to take leave of absence in term time without a school’s authorisation
- Your failure to return your child to school on an agreed date after a leave of absence
- Your child is found out of school, without permission, on two Truancy Sweeps, within the same school year
- Your child persistently arrives late for school after the register is closed
We have legal powers to take action via the courts for persistent non-attenders.
Under Section 444(1) of the Education Act of 1996, parent/carer(s) can be prosecuted for failure to ensure regular school attendance via the Magistrate Court. The penalty for an offence under this act can be a fine up to £1,000.
There is a more serious offence under Section 444(1a) (in circumstances where the parent knows that his/her child is failing to attend school regularly and fails without reasonable justification to cause him/her to do so) for which there is a maximum fine of £2,500, a term of imprisonment of up to 3 months, or both. A warrant could be issued requesting the defendant to attend court for sentencing.
We can also take action via the Family Proceedings Court under Section 36 of the Children Act 1989 and apply for an Education Supervision Order, making the LA (local authority) responsible for the education of the child. This action is taken to support parents.
We can serve School Attendance Orders under sections 437-443 of the Education Act 1996 in respect of pupils who are not registered at any school or registered to be receiving education rather than at school.