Education penalty notices

A penalty notice is a fine for parents or carers who don’t ensure that their child goes to school. The fine is £120 per parent per child. If you pay within 21 days, this is reduced to £60 per parent per child.

  • You must pay within 28 days to avoid prosecution and a criminal record
  • You cannot pay in instalments
  • You can pay with a debit or credit card

Reasons for penalty notices

  • Holidays in term time – 10 sessions (5 school days) or more
  • Unauthorised absences – 10 sessions (5 school days) within 10 school weeks
  • Unauthorised lateness – if a pupil arrives at school after the register has closed 10 times in 10 school weeks
  • A combination of unauthorised absence and lateness
  • An excluded pupil is in a public place without good reason during the school day

You will get a warning letter before you receive a penalty notice.


There is no right of appeal against a penalty notice.

If you think the notice should not have been issued, contact the school. If they do not agree to change their decision, you will have to pay the fine.

Contact the Team Around the School and Setting (TASS, formerly ESBAS) as soon as possible, if you:

  • can’t pay
  • have a warning letter and need advice, or
  • if you need help with your child’s attendance

More information

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