School attendance and absence

3. Legal action to enforce school attendance

Local councils and schools can use various legal powers if your child is missing school without a good reason. They can give you:

  • a Parenting Order
  • an Education Supervision Order
  • a School Attendance Order
  • a fine (sometimes known as a ‘penalty notice’)

You can be given one or more of these but the council doesn’t have to do this before prosecuting you.

Parenting Order

This means you have to go to parenting classes. You’ll also have to do what the court says to improve your child’s school attendance.

Education Supervision Order

If the council thinks you need support getting your child to go to school but you’re not co-operating, they can apply to a court for an Education Supervision Order.

A supervisor will be appointed to help you get your child into education. The local council can do this instead of prosecuting you, or as well.

School Attendance Order

You’ll get a School Attendance Order if the local council thinks your child isn’t getting an education.

You have 15 days to provide evidence that you’ve registered your child with the school listed in the order or that you’re giving them home education. If you don’t, you could be prosecuted or given a fine.

Fine

Your local council can give you a fine of £60, which rises to £120 if you don’t pay within 21 days. If you don’t pay the fine after 28 days you may be prosecuted for your child’s absence from school.

Check your local council’s rules on when you can be fined.

Prosecution

You could get a fine of up to £2,500, a community order or a jail sentence up to 3 months. The court also gives you a Parenting Order.