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Unauthorised absences and academies!

(38 Posts)
StarlightMcKenzie Wed 07-Nov-12 14:04:24

Does anyone know what sanctions acadamies can use if a parent insists on taking their children out during term time?

If oversubscribed, can the child legally have their place removed?

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 07-Nov-12 15:32:04


Themumsnot Wed 07-Nov-12 15:48:31

Yes they can, but not because they are academies, local authority schools can do this too and that applies whether or not the school is oversubscribed.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 07-Nov-12 15:51:44

Thank you.

what are the actual criteria, and who presides over the decision? What form of appeal can there be?

nelsonscolumn Wed 07-Nov-12 15:59:09

That is not correct. A child's school place cannot be removed for an unathorised absence. A place can only be removed once the child has already started at the school if it had been obtained through a fraudulent or misleading application. This is whether it is an academy or any other type of state funded schol.

mummytime Wed 07-Nov-12 16:03:18

Nope a place can be removed if a child is away from school for a long enough unauthorised absence, I think it is a month or six weeks. Academies just like other schools can also fine parents, (£50 per child, per day, per parent I think).

Themumsnot Wed 07-Nov-12 16:05:27

You are wrong nelson's column. The attendence regulations provide for a school to remove a child's place after 20 days of unauthorised absence.

Starlight - here is the relevant info from the regulations (Pupil Registration Regulations 2006). The school may delete a child's place if

h) the pupil has been continuously absent for not less than 20 school days, such absence was not authorised, the proprietor does not have grounds to believe that the pupil is unable to attend due to sickness or any unavoidable cause, and the proprietor and the LA have failed after reasonable enquiry to ascertain where the pupil is.

here is some relevant case law

R v London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and Barking Comprehensive School [2003] ELR 144 confirmed: (1) there is a legal duty on both the school and the LA to make reasonable enquiries; (2) it is not necessary to wait until after the 20 days to make the enquiries; (3) it is reasonable to inquire by letter to the family's home, even where it is known that the family is away; (4) it is legal, though harsh, to remove the name on the day the 20 days expires

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 07-Nov-12 16:12:35

Thank you Themumsnot. Is that 20 days consecutive (is that what continuously means here?)? Or the sum of odd days over a year, or over the lifetime of education?

Themumsnot Wed 07-Nov-12 16:16:25

I am pretty sure it can only apply to one continuous period of absence.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 07-Nov-12 16:19:40

So basically, whatever the head says, you can have 19 unauthorised days off, consecutively or otherwise, every year with no sanctions!? shock

Blimey if that is true!

Themumsnot Wed 07-Nov-12 16:21:25

Not no sanctions. The school, whether academy or not, can refer you to the Education Welfare Officer who could choose to fine or prosecute you for a shorter absence, but they could remove the child's place for a shorter absence than 20 days.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 07-Nov-12 16:22:30

But presumably that is only if attendance drops below 85% which it wouldn't do at just 19 days. ?

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 07-Nov-12 16:23:37

So the law says that a child can be removed from a school for unauthorised absences of less than 20 days?

Themumsnot Wed 07-Nov-12 16:34:46

Starlight - the 85% figure is the government's definition of persistant truancy. Sanctions can be put in place before then - that depends on the school's and LA's attendence policy. The school can refer you to the Education Welfare Service whenever they have an absence concern. Our council's policy is to fine parents who have had more than 10 unauthorised absences in a six-month period. That means 5 days, not 10, as an absence is half a day (two registration periods per day). Your local council will have the info on their policy on their website. So you could get a £60 fine if you had a week's unauthorised absence.

EdithWeston Wed 07-Nov-12 16:41:12

The last government brought in provision for prosecution and even gaoling parents if their child was a persistent non-attender. Does that provision still exist?

Themumsnot Wed 07-Nov-12 16:50:41

Edith yes it does, but it would a lot further down the line of persistant truancy.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 07-Nov-12 16:51:08

I can't find a thing on the council website, only that schools will refer to EWO if attendance drops below 85% for a six week period.

prh47bridge Wed 07-Nov-12 20:26:04

You can be fined for any unauthorised absence, although most authorities allow a few days before they will fine. If fines don't work the parents can be prosecuted and, at worst, sent to jail.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 07-Nov-12 20:30:35

Thank you p.

Is there any criteria for fine and prosecution or is it completely made up by the judge at the time?

Reading some of the suggestions here makes me think it will cost academies considerably to follow it through with a parent, but there could be a rationale for making an example.

Themumsnot Wed 07-Nov-12 20:37:09

The fines are set by the government - £60 if you pay within 28 days and £120 after that. They are on the spot fines, you don't need to be taken to court first.
Nothing to do with whether a school is an academy or not - all schools are bound by the attendance regulations.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 07-Nov-12 20:39:50

So how many days before a fine? And is it £60 per day or per absence.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 07-Nov-12 20:40:45

And who does the money go to.

Themumsnot Wed 07-Nov-12 20:48:14

Starlight - it varies because different local authorities have different policies. They can be issued by the headteacher, the local authority or the policy but they have to be issued in accordance with the local authority's policy. If you can't find it on the LA website then you should email and ask them to send it to you, they are obliged to make it publicly available. I don't know who gets to keep the money - not the school anyway.

Themumsnot Wed 07-Nov-12 20:48:44

sorry that should be 'or the police

HanSolo Wed 07-Nov-12 20:58:23

Academy near me says 10 days continuous absence will be referred to EWS! (a primary academy btw)

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