Amended Penalty Notice Guidance

The Education welfare Service has revised the guidance relating to penalty notices. This is a statutory service and is free of charge at point of issue but may attract a charge for additional work undertaken in relation to this.

A Penalty Notice is issued for two main types of absence:

• At least 5 consecutive days unauthorised leave of absence (e.g. holiday in term time)
• 20 sessions of unauthorised absence in any 12 week period

In respect of a leave of absence it is not necessary to issue a warning letter however where possible the parents/carers should be informed that the absence will not be authorised.

In respect of a Penalty Notice for unauthorised absences within a twelve week period the following criteria must be evidenced:

• A range of contact has been attempted with the family (which must include a Home Visit)
• Meeting at school evidenced by a letter
• Further attempts have been made to resolve any issues
• The parents have been informed that the matter may be referred for legal action
• The views of the young person have been sought and recorded in the evidence
• Warning letter issued to parents or carers by either the school or Education Welfare Service (unless this is for a leave of absence)
• Must include attendance in current term or previous term if at the beginning of a new term
• Unpaid Penalty Notices will ordinarily be prosecuted in the Court. It is therefore a requirement that before the issue of a Penalty Notice there is enough evidence to proceed to Prosecution.


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