Facing prosecution for your child not attending school?

S444(1) of the Education Act 1996 creates a charge for non-school attendance. S444 (1) is where a parent fails to secure regular attendance at school of registered pupil. S444(1)A is whereby a parent knowingly fails to secure regular attendance at school of registered pupil.

Here at Emery Johnson Astills, we regularly deal with such non-school attendance cases.

Local Councils can prosecute in relation to parents who fail to ensure their child attends regularly at school.

The first step is for schools to fine parents for any non-school attendances, including taking a child on holiday. The fine starts at £60 before increasing to £120 if you do not pay within 21 days. If you fail to pay the fine then they can prosecute and take you to Court. The sentencing guidelines range from a fine to a community order.

However, the Prosecution must prove beyond doubt that a parent has failed to secure regular attendance. They have to take in to account the child’s academic attendance record as a whole, not just the unauthorised attendances.

In a recent case before the Isle of Wight Magistrates, whereby parents were being prosecuted for taking a child on holiday in school time, the defence submitted there was no case to answer on the basis that an essential element of the Prosecution case was missing. Namely that the child had failed to attend school regularly. In this case, the child had an attendance rate of 92.35%. The Magistrates ruled that there was in fact no case to answer.

If you child has regularly attended at school but you are still being prosecuted for unauthorised attendances, it is worth considering the new ruling in Isle of Wight Council v Platt as to whether the Prosecution have proved that your child was not regularly in attendance.

Are you being prosecuted for your child’s non-school attendance? If so, give Emery Johnson Astills a call on 0116 2554855 in order to obtain legal advice.

Emery Johnson Astills can advise and represent you at Court for any such hearings. Public funding is available in relation to the S4441(A) Act.