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The most important thing to us is that your child learns and makes progress. We also wish to ensure that they are happy in school and achieve their potential. The best way to achieve this is regular attendance at school.

The Law states that all school age children (between 5 & 16) must attend school. Parents are responsible for making sure their child attends school regularly and the Local Authority may take legal action if you fail to do this. All attendance is tracked carefully throughout the year. Any child who has attendance lower than 96%, and for reasons we are not aware of, will be invited to attendance surgery. This is an opportunity to discuss any barriers to attendance and how we can raise your child’s attendance.
We would also like to remind all parents that when your child reaches Year 6 they do Statutory Assessments (SATs) and would ask you not to book any holiday during the month of May.
Late arrivals after close of registration are classed as ‘unauthorised’ and are recorded and reported to the DfE. Please help us keep these to a minimum by getting your child to school by 8.40am each day. Any absences must be reported to school by telephone first thing in the morning on the first day of absence.

Please see below latest guidance from Northamptonshire County Council on taking children on Unauthorised holidays.

Educational Inclusion and Partnership Team

A Brief Guide to Penalty Notices

Sections 444 Education Act 1996
Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003
Crime and Disorder Act 1998

NCC have changed its timescales for issuing Penalty Notices (PN) for unauthorised absence from school. This leaflet offers you a brief summary about the (PN) scheme and what it could mean for you.

What is a PN?

A penalty Notice is an alternative to prosecution and required the parent(s) to pay a fixed amount as a fine for their child’s irregular attendance and avoid a court appearance. It is issued per parent, per child. Please note only a Head Teacher can authorise absence from school.

Who issues them?

In Northamptonshire the Local Authority issues them through the Educational Inclusion and Partnership team

When are they used?

When a pupil has a minimum of 10 school sessions (5 days consecutive) recorded as unauthorised in a 10 school week period; a school day is two sessions AM and PM. This includes; any absence marked in the register as unauthorised. Persistent late arrival at school after the register has been taken and is recorded as an unauthorised absence. An absence in term time which has not been authorised by the Head Teacher. The Government has directed Head Teachers may only grant leave in exceptional circumstances. PNs can also be used during the first 5 days of exclusion. Parents are made aware of the consequences by letter when a child is excluded from school.

Please note If the school refers a period of absence that is longer than 15 consecutive school days; the Educational and Inclusion Partnership team may consider a PN is not appropriate. In these instances the matter may proceed to a prosecution. Determination about whether it is appropriate to use a penalty notice will be based on the individual circumstances of each case. If a parent knows that their child is failing to attend school regularly and there is reasonable justification for not ensuring that their child attends then it is for the parents/carers to prove that reasonable justification.

How much is the PN?

The PN is issued with an invoice for £120 and 28 days are given for you to settle the Penalty. If the PN is paid within the first 21 days the amount payable is reduced to £60. How do I pay? The information on how to pay is included on the PN. Payment cannot be made in part or by installments.

What happens if I don’t pay?

If you don’t pay within the 28 days the Authority will consider instigating a prosecution in the Magistrates Court for the offence of poor school attendance. If proven this could result in a fine of up to £1000 per parent per child and/or a parenting order or a community service order and also costs.

Can I appeal?

There is no statutory right of appeal once a Notice has been issued.

Can I be prosecuted if I pay the Fixed Penalty Notice?

You cannot be prosecuted for the period of absence identified in the Fixed Penalty Notice. You may subsequently be prosecuted for further periods of unauthorised absence from school. Each case is considered on an individual basis ** REMEMBER ** School staff would much rather work with parents/carers to resolve poor attendance than resort to enforcement actions like Fixed Penalty Notices or Court

For further information please contact: Educational Inclusion & Partnership Team