Pupils: Absenteeism

Department for Education written question – answered on 5th November 2019.

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Photo of Eddie Hughes Eddie Hughes Conservative, Walsall North

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the (a) effect of the £60 fine per child or young person for unauthorised absences on the level of those absences and (b) potential effect of an increase in that fine on the level of absences.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

Parents have a duty, under Section 7 of the Education Act 1996, to ensure that their child of compulsory school age (5-16) receives an efficient full-time education either by attendance at school or otherwise.

If parents register their child at school, the law places a duty on parents to ensure their child of compulsory school age attends school regularly.

A penalty notice is a fine issued to parents for failing to secure their child’s regular attendance at school. The Parental Responsibility Measures Attendance census collects data from local authorities annually on parental responsibility measures issued to address poor attendance in state-funded schools. It is a matter for schools and local authorities to decide whether to issue a penalty notice for unauthorised term time absence.

The Department has not formally assessed the impact of penalty notices, but comparable data shows overall absence rates have remained fairly stable across recent years, following a generally downward trend since 2006/07 (4.8% in 2017/18, compared to 6.5% in 2006/07).

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