Littleport Community

Primary School

Spread your wings and fly!

Penalty Notices for absence

If 3 or more term time leave Penalty Notices have been issued over a 3 year period then prosecution in relation to Section 444 Education Act 1996, may be considered as an alternative to a Penalty Notice fine being issued. Where a parent takes a child out of school during term time for an extended period (20 days or more), not authorised by the school, prosecution in relation to Section 444 Education Act 1996, may also be considered by the Local Authority.

You can find out more here:


Cambridgeshire County Council - Non-attendance and the law


Non-attendance and the law


All parents have a legal duty to ensure that their child receives an education suitable to his/her age, ability and aptitude and any special needs. Most parents fulfil their legal obligation by registering their child in a school.

  • Children must legally be in education between the school term after their fifth birthday and the last Friday in June in the school year they turn 16.
  • The Education and Skills Act 2008 increased the minimum age at which young people in England can leave learning. Raising the participation age means that young people must continue with some form of education or training until they are 18.

School attendance order

If you don't register your child at a school or make suitable alternative education arrangements, we may issue a school attendance order. This order requires you to register your child at a named school.


Non-attendance at school

Failure to ensure a child’s regular attendance at school is a criminal offence. If with support from the school's attendance officer and/or the Local Authority, your child’s attendance does not improve, the Local Authority will consider one of two actions:

  • Penalty Notice. We can give each parent a fine of £60, which rises to £120 each if you do not pay within 21 days. If payment is not received within 28 days from the issue of the penalty notice, we may prosecute you for the offence of 'irregular attendance'. You could then be subject to a fine of up to £1,000 on conviction.

  • Prosecution in the Magistrates' court. Both parents could get a fine of up to £2,500, a community order or a jail sentence up to three months each. The court may also give you a Parenting Order.


The offence will apply to each child individually. Both parents are liable for the offence. The Education Act considers each 'responsible adult' as a 'parent'. This includes a family friend or relative if the child lives with them and they provided day-to-day care.