School absence fixed penalty notices

A copy of your code of practice for issuing fixed penalty notices

Devon County Council- Penalty Notice Code of Conduct Absence from school – penalty notices

School absence penalty notices 

Issuing fixed penalty notices was suspended in 2017 pending the outcome of a court case affecting the Isle of Wight Local Education Authority (LEA). Information about that is available via internet search engines.

2. How many fixed penalty notices were issued in your area in 2017, 2018 and 2019

Parental responsibility measures: 2017 to 2018

2017 -2018

2018 -2019 

The use of the * symbol on the spreadsheets linked to above indicates that we hold the information but as disclosure may identify individuals and therefore breach their rights under Data Protection laws we consider the information to be exempt under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 Section 40(2) Personal Data.

3. The most common criteria for triggering a fixed penalty notice

We do not hold any information about a most common criteria. Our Code of Conduct states that a penalty notice will only be issued if a pupil has at least 10 half day (1 school day = 2 half day) unauthorised absences recorded against their name and wherever practical that the parent(s) have been warned in writing that unauthorised absences may lead to the issue of a penalty notice. This warning may be provided by the school/college, Education Welfare Officer based at Babcock LDP, or other recognised professional. Unauthorised absences can be acquired when:
1) Leave has been requested, but the circumstances are such that the school is unable to authorise the leave and it is taken anyway.
2) Leave is not requested and/or the school has grounds to believe that the child has been taken out of school for an avoidable reason (example – a family holiday). Only the Head teacher can authorise an absence. There have been occasions when schools have been notified that the pupil is sick, but the school later discovers and reasonably believes that the reason given for the absence is not genuine.
3) A child continually arrives late after the registration period has closed.
4) A child is persistently absent from school.

It is important to stress that unless an absence is due to holiday, we work to support attendance before moving forward with penalty notices or prosecution, this includes support via the school team and a full offer of Early help support. If accepted we then allow time for this have to an impact

4. The total number of prosecutions in the above years under sections 444(1) and 444(1A) of the Education Act 1996

Year Number of prosecutions
2017 87 under S444(1)
2017 15 under S444(1)(A)
2018 315 under S444(1)
2018 28 under S444(1)(A)
2019 335 under S444(1)
2019 24 under S444(1)(A)