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Penalty Notices

A Head Teacher or the Local Authority may issue a penalty notice for unauthorised absence.

Essex School Attendance Penalty Notices

If you believe you have been incorrectly issued with a penalty notice you should request a meeting with the Head Teacher or authorised Deputy.  You will need to provide evidence of the reason your child/young person is unable to attend school and ask the penalty notice to be withdrawn. You can also raise your concerns to the Governing Body.

A penalty notice can only be withdrawn if it:

There is no statutory right of appeal against the issuing of a penalty notice.

If you believe school are recording illness as 'unauthorised absence' it might be helpful to look at the following guidance for schools from the Department for Education around recording attendance.  It states:- 

"Schools should authorise absences due to illness unless they have genuine cause for concern about the veracity of an illness. If the authenticity of illness is in doubt, schools can request parents to provide medical evidence to support illness. Schools can record the absence as unauthorised if not satisfied of the authenticity of the illness but should advise parents of their intention. Schools are advised not to request medical evidence unnecessarily. Medical evidence can take the form of prescriptions, appointment cards, etc. rather than doctors’ notes.

(Code I illness, page 13)

Department for Education - Working Together to Improve School AttendanceEssex Code of Conduct for Parents


Also in this section:


Some children may not be able to attend school for health reasons, for long term or intermittent periods.

Emotional Based School Avoidance

Guidance on the steps you can take if your child is experiencing anxiety around going to school.

Reduced Timetables Guidance

Guidance around how reduced timetables should be managed.

Children and Young People with Medical Needs

Guidance on how education settings should support children/young people who have medical needs and information about individual health care plans.