Penalty Notices in Relation to Non-School Attendance


The law states that a planned absence from school should only be authorised for pupils in ‘exceptional circumstances’.  Here at St Mewan CP School we recognise that there are occasions when it is appropriate to authorise an absence; we look at each request on its own merit, taking into account purpose, attendance history and study commitment.


In order to try and reduce the amount of holiday requests we receive, we block our INSET days to have a two week Autumn half term holiday at a time when costs may have reduced due to the time of the year.  


If you decide to still take your child out of school, without permission, you will be committing an offence under the Education Act 1996.  We may refer the matter to Cornwall Council who, as the issuing officer, may decide to take legal action against you.  A Penalty Notice can be issued under Section 444A and 444B of the Education Act 1996.  This carries a fine of £60 if paid within 21 days or £120 if paid after this but within 28 days.  Fines are issued per parent/carer, per child.  Failure to pay the Penalty Notice may result in Court action. Persistent absences not authorised by the school may result in a prosecution in the Magistrates Court, leading to fines up to £2,500 and/or custodial sentences.


Further information on the Law surrounding pupil attendance and holidays in term time can be found at:




Please be aware that the school does not issue Penalty Notices, this is a matter which is under the jurisdiction of the Local Authority, and there is no financial gain for a school to take this course of action. Any decision to impose a Penalty Notice will only be taken after consultation between the Education Welfare Office and the Headteacher.


We would like to reiterate our appreciation for the efforts of the vast majority of our parents who ensure their children’s regular attendance.


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