The Local Authority has brought to the attention of every school in Southampton the powers in the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 to tackle poor school attendance.
This came into force on 16th October 2006 and it will mean that the Education Welfare Service can issue Penalty Notices for students with unauthorised absence from school (i.e. absence that the school has not given permission for).
The Penalty Notice will be issued by post to a student’s home, after one warning letter. Cases of unauthorised absence include students caught on Truancy Sweeps, persistent late attendance after the register has closed, internal truanting from lessons and unauthorised holiday. In the case of unauthorised holiday a Penalty Notice may be issued straight away, without a warning letter.
Penalty Notices provide an alternative to prosecution under s444(1) of the Education Act 1996 and payment within 21 days of receipt of a Penalty Notice is £60 and if it remains unpaid after 28 days the amount will increase to £120. This amount is per parent/guardian and per child. If a Penalty Notice remains unpaid after 42 days, the case will progress to Magistrates Court for the original offence of poor school attendance; this can mean a fine of up to £2,500.
At Regents Park Community College we consider that regular attendance is so important and these new powers so significant, that we are now bringing this legislation to the attention of every parent with a child in this school.
It means that any parent of a student with a level of unauthorised absence may now be issued with a Penalty Notice by the Education Welfare Service.
If you believe at any stage that your child’s absence record from school may leave you liable to receive a Penalty Notice, it is extremely important that you take action to secure their regular attendance.
Support and guidance is always available from the School and the Education Welfare Service, therefore if you have any questions regarding Penalty Notices or any other attendance issue please do not hesitate to contact us.