Fixed penalty notices can be issued to parents or carers if the children in their care are absent from school for any of the following reasons:
A fine of £60 for each child is issued to each parent or carer. If the fine is not paid within 21 days, another £60 fine will be issued; both must be paid within 28 days of the date when the original fine was issued.
Decisions on whether to allow a leave of absence during term-time are made by individual schools, not the council.
There is no right to appeal. Fines will only be withdrawn if they are found to have been issued in error. If you believe an absence has been classified incorrectly and wish to challenge the reasons given, you need to take this up with the school in the first instance, as whether or not the council issues a fine depends on how schools classify an absence.
There are two types of penalty notices – holiday/leave of absence during term-time and irregular attendance.
The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2013 came into force in September 2013 and amended the 2006 regulations removing the reference to 'holiday' and 'extended leave' as well as the statutory threshold of ten school days. The amended regulations state the head teacher (or authorised person) may not grant any leave of absence during term-time unless there are 'exceptional circumstances' that apply to that application. The head teacher should consider each application on a case-by-case basis and on its own merits. It is at the head teacher’s discretion if the exceptional circumstances warrant the authorisation of the leave and should also determine the number of days the pupil should be absent for. Head teachers should make clear to parents the date on which the pupil will be expected to return to school. All requests for leave of absence must be made in advance and by the parent/carer with whom the child normally resides.
A penalty notice will be issued when leave of absence has been taken but the school have not received and authorised a request in advance (where it can be clearly demonstrated that the parent/carer understood that permission had not be given).
Excessive delayed return from holiday: Where leave has been granted by the head teacher, an agreed return date should be discussed and what will occur if the pupil fails to return to school on the date stated. The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 also enable schools to remove from their roll pupils who have failed to attend on the agreed return date. Following this date, reasonable enquiry should occur by the school and local authority to ascertain the pupil’s whereabouts in an attempt to locate the pupil prior to removal.
When a pupil persistently arrives late, schools should investigate the reason for this and offer support where appropriate to rectify the situation. Where the arrival time is after the close of registration period (DfE guidance states the register to pupils should close up to 30 minutes after the register was taken), each school has its own policy stating when the registration will close. If you are later than the close of registration, an unauthorised absence should be recorded. The same process applies when requesting and issuing a penalty notice.
Coventry City Council will issue a monitoring period, where at least 10 sessions (5 school days) are lost due to unauthorised absences in any current 5 week period. The local authority shall consider the issue of a penalty notice if further unauthorised absence occurs and the following is in place.
The local authority will monitor and evaluate the outcomes of penalty notices in terms of improvement in school attendance, payment and any subsequent legal action.
The use of the notices will be reviewed at regular intervals and the enforcement strategy of the local authority may be amended accordingly.
As part of the administration of penalty notices and on behalf of the local authority, data will be provided at the beginning of each academic year to the parental responsibility and behaviour data collection.
Please telephone the Attendance and Inclusion Team on 024 7697 5434 with your debit/credit card, Monday to Thursday 9am to 4.30pm and Friday 9am to 4pm. Please note we do not accept American Express Cards.
You can pay by card, cash or cheque at our Customer Service Centre, Broadgate, Coventry, CV1 1FS, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (excluding Bank Holidays). You will need your reference number. There are two payment machines in the shop entrance to our Customer Service Centre and one payment machine in the entrance up the ramp off Broadgate.
You can pay online at any time at www.coventry.gov.uk/payonline. You will need your child’s name and school, and your debit or credit card details.
If payment is not received within 28 days, the local authority will take action and consider prosecution for the unauthorised absence. A letter is sent to the parent informing of the local authority’s intention to pursue legal proceedings for the period of absence in question.
The instigation of legal proceedings for unauthorised absence from school under S444 (1) or S444 (1A) of the Education Act 1996 may also be considered where it is deemed to be appropriate. The prosecution is not for the non-payment of the notice but for failure to ensure regular attendance at school.
Once a penalty notice has been issued, it can only be withdrawn in the following circumstances: