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What the Law Says

Parents/carers have a legal responsibility for ensuring that children of compulsory school age receive a full-time education "suitable to their age, ability, aptitude and any special education needs that they may have either by regular attendance at school or otherwise" - Section 7 Education Act 1996.

Parents/carers whose children are on a school register and fail to ensure the regular school attendance of their children, may be guilty of an offence under Section 444 or 444(1A) of the Education Act 1996. The council may issue a Penalty Notice or take other statutory action through the courts to secure regular school attendance.

Legal Interventions

Penalty Notice

A penalty notice is used as an early intervention and is an alternative to prosecution under Section 444 of the Education Act for irregular school attendance which is not authorised by the school.

The school may request a penalty notice and one will be issued by the council if the request meets the criteria in the Code of Conduct. There is no right of appeal against the issuing of a penalty notice.

penalty table.PNG

Payments will not be accepted after the 28th day and payments cannot be paid in part or by instalments

The expression “parent”, in relation to a child or young person, includes any person who is not a parent of the child but who has parental responsibility for him/her, or who has care of the child.


Schools or the Local Authority may prosecute a parent/carer without the use of a penalty notice fine first and this could result in a more serious penalty.

The offence under Section 444(1) of the Education Act 1996 carries a maximum fine of £1,000 and the council will also seek to recover costs. The more serious offence under Section 444 (1A) has a range of sentencing options for the court to impose on each responsible parent/carer, including:

  • a fine of up to £2,500;
  • a community based sentence;
  • three months imprisonment;
  • subject to a Parenting Order - this can be additional to other sentences;
  • costs may be awarded to the council.

Elective Home Education

If you would like further information please click on the following link Elective Home Education 


Ivy Bank Primary School

Valley Road Macclesfield, Cheshire SK11 8PB

Mrs Sarah Gill | Headteacher

01625 448014