What happens if a child is absent from school without permission?

The council works to find all school-aged children who are not receiving any education or are absent without permission.

Once found, they’re placed in a mainstream school or an appropriate place of education.

Where needed, the Council will also put the family in touch with local support networks and organisations.

Enforcement of school attendance

Where children are not receiving a full-time education and there isn’t a good reason why not, parents may have to pay a fine, these are called Penalty Notice.

Parents may also have to attend court where they could receive both a fine and a criminal record.

Penalty Notice

Both parent(s) are legally responsible for ensuring their child attends school regularly.

Penalty Notices are issued to parent(s) separately for each child.

If issued with fines, both parent(s) are required to make payment for their own Penalty Notice.

For example, if there are 2 parents and 2 children, 4 Penalty Notices will be issued.

Downloadable leaflet: What to do to avoid legal action

What is a parent?

A ‘parent’ in relation to any child or young person, includes any person:-

  • who is not a parent but who has parental responsibility for him, or
  • who has care of him

This also includes absent parents and parental partners (whether or not they are married or the natural parent of the child) as they have ‘care of’ the child.

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