Education Act offences

Emery Johnson Astills works closely with parents who are being prosecuted by their local authority for failing to secure regular school attendance of their children. This is a serious offence and our Criminal Law Team at Emery Johnson Astills will be able to advise you in relation to the 2 main offences under the Education Act 1996:

  1. Under section 444(1) where a school child fails to attend school regularly his/her parent is guilty of an offence. If convicted the parent may face a fine not exceeding £1,000.
  2. Under section 444(1A) where a school child fails to attend school regularly and his/her parent knows this and cannot provide reasonable justification for the absences, his/her parent is guilty of an offence. On conviction, the parent may receive a fine not exceeding £2,500 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 3 months.

Generally, a school will authorise absences where it is accepted that a child is too ill to attend and the school may require proof such as a doctor’s letter. The school will also authorise absences where the parents have sought advance permission from the school. This might be for religious purposes. If the child is on study leave, attending work experience or being educated off-site, the school will authorise these absences.

It is important to be aware that schools have to regularly report to the local authority in relation to pupils who are regularly absent from school or have missed 10 school days or more without the school’s permission. If you need advice regarding any of the issues discussed within this article, please contact the Criminal Law Team at Emery Johnson Astills on 0116 255 4855.