You should all be aware that new rules for unauthorised absence in term time came into effect from 1 September 2017. In Dudley, the Education Investigation Service will instigate statutory intervention on behalf of the Local Authority, when notified that a pupil has a relevant level of unauthorised absence. This can result in a Penalty Notice being issued to a child’s parents or carers. A Penalty Notice might be issued, when unauthorised absence results in a child having less than 90% attendance or when a child has 10 sessions or more of unauthorised absence. A session is a morning or an afternoon, so 10 sessions is the equivalent of having five days off school. This means that if you do take a full week’s holiday from Monday to Friday inclusive in term-time, you will face a fine.
A Penalty Notice will be issued to each parent. Section 576 of the Education Act 1996 defines a parent as:
- All natural parents, whether married or not
- Any person, who, although they are not a natural parent, has parental responsibility (as defined in the Children Act 1989) for a child or young person
- Any person, who, although not a natural parent, has care of a child or young person – having care of a child or young person means a person with whom the child lives and who looks after the child
A Penalty Notice is £60, if paid within 21 days of receipt, rising to £120, if paid after 21 days but within 28 days of receipt.