Home   News   Article

Hertfordshire County Council issues hundreds of fines for unauthorised absence from schools

Education officials at Hertfordshire County Council have handed hundreds of fines to parents for taking their children out of school without permission.

According to data published by the education authority, 456 penalty notices have been issued since the start of the 2023-24 academic year last September. As a result, the council has collected £22,400 in fines.

In the 2022-23 academic year – from September to September – 1,611 penalties were imposed and £63,720 was paid. In 2021-22, the council collected £15,420 from 933 notices issued.

Stock pic
Stock pic

The data was issued in response to a Freedom of Information Act request and published on the council’s website.

Typically, a fine is £60 if paid within three weeks, increasing to £120. However, the Government has indicated it intends to increase the penalty for unauthorised absence from £60 to £80 under a national framework – increasing to £160 if not paid within 21 days.

The penalty notices are intended to be an alternative to prosecution and can be issued to “each” parent or carer liable for the “offence”, in respect of each child.

According to guidance on unauthorised absence for penalty notices issued to schools and academies by the county council, pupils must have missed 15 or more half-day sessions in a single term.

A maximum of two separate penalty notices can be issued to a parent or carer within a 12-month period.

Funds raised from the fines are retained by the council to cover administration of the scheme and any legal action arising from it.

A spokesperson for the county council said: “A good education is key to providing children with the best start in life, and as a county of opportunity it’s vital that children attend school regularly.

“We believe that schools are best placed to understand the reasons why a student may be absent, and with the clear guidance we provide to all schools, issuing a fine to a parent or guardian is a last resort.”

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More