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Penalty Notice

Regular and punctual attendance at school/alternative provision is both a legal requirement and essential for pupils to maximise their educational opportunities.

Section 444A of the Education Act 1996 empowers designated local authority officers, Headteachers (and deputy and assistant Headteachers authorised by them) and the police to issue penalty notices.

When a penalty notice may be issued
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  • Overt truancy (including pupils caught on truancy sweeps)
  • Parentally-condoned absences
  • Unauthorised leave for the purpose of a family holiday in term-time
  • Delayed return from leave of absence without prior school agreement
  • Persistent late arrival at school (after the school register has closed)
  • Where an excluded child is found in a public place during school hours during the first five days of exclusion.

How to issue a penalty notice
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Following consultation, it is agreed that:

  • Kent County Council's Attendance Service will issue all penalty notices for all unauthorised absences and exclusions. This will ensure consistent and equitable delivery, avoid duplication of penalty notices, help to maintain good school/alternative provision-home relationships and ensure that there is not conflict with other enforcement sanctions
  • Penalty notices will only be issued by post and never as an on the spot action
  • The Attendance Service will receive requests to issue penalty notices from schools and alternative education providers, Kent Police and neighbouring local authorities.

Penalty notice appeals
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There is no statutory right of appeal against the decision to issue a penalty notice and the sole authority to authorise absences lies with the Headteacher and their decision is final.

Penalty notice documents
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Penalty notice letters
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