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Fixed Penalty Notices in Monmouthshire - A Guide for Parents and Carers

Improving regular attendance at school is a key priority, both locally and nationally.

 

The Welsh Government has introduced important amendments to legislation surrounding school attendance. The Education Act 1996 makes it a criminal offence for a parent to “fail to secure their child’s regular attendance at the school”

 

The new amendments include a penalty notice scheme. This means that a Head teacher can request the issue of a Fixed Penalty Notice for irregular attendance of a child or young person registered in their school. This includes pupils who attend an alternative education provision arranged by the Local Authority.

 

Some examples of when a Fixed Penalty Notice can be issued:

 

  • Unauthorised absences - Where at least 10 sessions (5 schools days) are lost to unauthorised absences; these do not need to be consecutive. You will receive a formal notification from the Head teacher explaining the actions that may be taken.

 

  • Holidays in term time - A Fixed Penalty Notice can be issued for an unauthorised leave of absence for at least 10 sessions (five school days) during term time; these have to be consecutive school days.

 

Should a parent/carer wish to take a holiday during term time they must apply in writing to the school explaining the circumstances for the leave of absence. The Head Teacher must be satisfied that the circumstances warrant the granting of leave and that the child’s attendance is not below the school’s attendance target for that year.

 
If the holiday goes ahead after the application has been declined the absence will be recorded as unauthorised. The school will inform the Local Authority who will then issue the penalty notice on their behalf.

 

Late arrivals – at least 10 sessions of late arrival at school after the register has closed. (there are two sessions in a school day, morning and afternoon)

 

Where a child or young person comes to the attention of the Police during school hours for being absent from their registered school without an acceptable reason. Where both parents have responsibility for their child, each parent will receive a fixed penalty notice.

 

The definition of “parent” includes all natural parents, whether they are married or not; and includes any person who, although not a natural parent, has parental responsibility and/or care for a child or young person.

 

Penalties:

 

Timeline

One child

Two children

Paid within 28 days

£60 per parent

£60 per child = £120 per parent

After 28 days and before 42 days

£120 per parent

£120 per child = £240 per parent

After 42 days

You will receive a summons to appear before the Magistrates’ Court on the grounds you have failed to secure your child’s regular attendance

You will receive a summons to appear before the Magistrates’ Court on the grounds you have failed to secure your children’s regular attendance

 

Section 444 of the Education Act 1996, makes it a criminal offence for a parent to fail to secure their child’s attendance at the school at which they are registered and where that absence is not authorised by the school. Therefore if the penalty notice is paid within the time limits above, no further action will be taken in connection with the offence. If the fixed penalty notice remains unpaid the parent/carer will be prosecuted in magistrate’s court for the offence.


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