Education Penalty Notices were introduced under Sections 444A and 444B of the Education Act 1996 (introduced by Section 23 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003) as an alternative to prosecution under Section 444. Parents/carers may discharge potential liability for conviction for an offence under Section 444 by paying a penalty.
They are mainly used as a measure to address attendance problems at an early stage before they become entrenched, and can be used as a response to unauthorised absences, including unauthorised term time holidays or persistent lateness (after the school register has closed) which then becomes an unauthorised absence. The purpose of a Fixed Penalty Notice is to improve school attendance.
What are Education Penalty Notices?
- Education Penalty Notices are fixed penalty fines which are issued to parents in relation to unauthorised absences of their children from school.
- The Local Authority, schools or the police can issue them, although in Conwy the Local Education Authority issues penalty notices on behalf of these agencies.
- Education Penalty Notices impose a fixed penalty fine upon each parent. With effect from 1st September 2013 the level of the fine is £60 which increases to £120 if unpaid after 28 days.
- Upon payment a parent's legal liability in respect of the relevant period of absence is discharged and he or she cannot be prosecuted for the period of non-attendance in question.
Examples of when an Education Penalty Notice may be issued include:
- When at least 10 sessions (5 school days) are lost to unauthorised absence during the current term. These do not need to be consecutive; or
- Unauthorised absences of at least 10 sessions (5 school days) due to holidays in term time or delayed return from extended holidays.
- Persistent lateness (i.e. after the register has closed and an unauthorised absence is created). "Persistent" means at least 10 sessions (5 school days) or late arrival during the current term.
This is not an exhaustive list and each case will be considered individually.
Who can receive a Fixed Penalty Notice?
- These procedures apply to the parents/carers of children of compulsory school age who are registered at a maintained school, a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) and those attending alternative provision.
- As with prosecutions under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996, a penalty notice may be issued to each parent/carer liable for the offence or offences for each child.
- Withdrawal of the notice can only take place in very limited circumstances as set out in Conwy's Code of Conduct.
When did the Fixed Penalty Notices start?
- Fixed Penalty Notices came into force during January 2015.
Paying the Penalty
- Arrangements for payment are detailed on the Penalty Notice.
WARNING: LATE PAYMENT WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. YOU WILL NOT BE SENT A REMINDER.
Non-payment of Education Penalty Notices
- If payment in full is not received in 42 days the parent/carer may be prosecuted under s444(1) Education Act 1996 for failing to ensure the regular school attendance of aregistered pupil of compulsory school age.
Withdrawal of Education Penalty Notices
- This notice may be withdrawn by Conwy Education Services if it is shown that it should not have been issued to you or has not been issued to you in accordance with the local code of conduct. If you believe that the notice was wrongly issued you must contact Conwy Education Services as soon as possible to ask for it be withdrawn, stating why you believe the notice to have been incorrectly issued.
- Conwy Education Services will consider your request and contact you to let you know whether the notice is withdrawn. If the notice is not withdrawn and you do not pay, you will be liable for prosecution of the offence.
Conwy County Borough Council