School Attendance and the Law

School Attendance and the Law

Regular attendance at school is important. Failing to attend school regularly can have a major impact on children’s education, their future and their life chances. Regular attendance means attending school everyday, arriving at school on time and attending every lesson.

Under section 7 of the Education Act 1996, parents are responsible for ensuring their child (from age 5 to age 16) receives efficient full time education that is suitable to the child’s age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs the child may have. This can be through regular school attendance or through elective home education (EHE)

Parents who fail to ensure their children attend school regularly without good reason could:-

  • Receive a Penalty Notice Fine of £60 per parent per pupil
  • Be prosecuted in the magistrate’s court and be fined up to £1,000
  • In more serious offences, where parents have been previously prosecuted they could be fined up to £2,500 or face imprisonment

The legal measures available to Local Authorities in respect of School Attendance are detailed in the DFE document "School Attendance: Statutory Guidance and departmental advice" this document can be found here

Bradford Children's Services guidance for issuing penalty notices for unauthorised leave of absence in term time can be found here

Bradford Children's Services Protocol for the issuing of Penalty Notices can be viewed here.


Prosecution Advice for Academies - Non School Attendance 

Where academies buy-in or employ their own independent educational welfare provider they cannot prosecute parents as this power remains solely with the Local Authority. However, they can make referrals to the Local Authority, which then decides whether to prosecute parents.

It is therefore the responsibility of Bradford Children’s Services to “consider” prosecuting cases of non-school attendance.  These guidelines are intended to advise academies of factors that Bradford Children’s Services Education Social Work Service consider when prosecution is requested.  It also advises how academies can compile the evidence required to secure a conviction and can be downloaded here

Page owned by Waheeda Shah, last updated on 25/08/2017. This page has been viewed 10,919 times.