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Maximum Penalty Fine for Unauthorised Absence from School?

Janine Marsh Thrifty Family
Janine Marsh Thrifty Family

Janine Marsh

Financial Expert

Janine is a financial expert who supports individuals with debt management, cost-saving resources, and navigating parking tickets.

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· May 31st, 2024
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Unauthorised Absence from School

Are you facing a fine because your child missed school without permission? You’re not the only one. Each month, over 32,000 people come to this site seeking guidance on tickets and fines. It’s a tough spot to be in, but don’t worry, we’re here to help!

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • What happens when your child has an unauthorised absence from school.
  • The maximum penalty fine for these kinds of absences.
  • The steps you can take to appeal the fine.
  • How many school absences are allowed before a fine is given.
  • What legal actions might follow if the fine is not paid.

As a trusted source of advice, our team has guided many parents in your situation. We know how stressful it can be to worry about fines and legal problems. But with the right information and advice, you can handle this. So, take a moment, and let’s dive in to learn what you need to do next.

Do You Have to Pay?

In some circumstances, you might have a legitimate reason not to pay your fine.

It’s a bit sneaky, but the last time I needed legal advice, I paid £5 for a trial to chat with an online solicitor called JustAnswer.

Not only did I save £50 on solicitor feeds, I also won my case and didn’t have to pay my £271 fine.

Chat below to get started with JustAnswer

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Do school absences have to be authorised?

Yes, head teachers are supposed to approve absences from school based on strict criteria, such as the child being too unwell to attend. 

They cannot authorise absences for reasons outside of the criteria, such as for a family holiday or because it’s their birthday. 

What happens if school absence is unauthorised?

An unauthorised absence will be recorded on your child’s attendance record when no satisfactory reason for the absence was given. This might then be reported Education Welfare Service (EWS) or other authorities.

However, it’s more likely to be reported in the case of an extended unauthorised absence or when there are repeat unauthorised school absences. Although, all of the following are possible when a head teacher reports unauthorised absences:

  1. Parenting Order

A Parenting Order is when the court gives you specific instructions to ensure your child’s school attendance improves. It also requires you to go to parenting classes.  

  1. Education Supervisor Order

The local council might give you an Education Supervisor Order, whereby an appointed supervisor works with you to improve your child’s attendance record. This order is used when you are judged to not be cooperating or doing your best to resolve the issue. 

  1. School Attendance Order

A School Attendance Order is issued by your local council if it thinks your child isn’t receiving enough education. You’ll be given 15 days to argue against this, which may be to prove you’re providing satisfactory home education.

Successful Appeal Case Study


Initial Fine £100
Additional Fees £171
Total Fine £271

The Appeal Process

Scott used JustAnswer, online legal service to enhance his appeal. The trial of this cost him just £5.

Total Fine £271
Cost of legal advice £5

JustAnswer helped Scott craft the best appeal possible and he was able to win his case.

Scott’s fine was cancelled and he only paid £5 for the legal help.

Get started

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Can you get fined for unauthorised absence from school?

Yes, each parent can be given a separate fine when their child has an unauthorised absence from school. This fine is issued through a Fixed Penalty Notice. 

Maximum Penalty Fine for Unauthorised Absence from School?

Source: https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/5774751/fines-for-unauthorised-absence-from-school 

How many unauthorised absences are allowed from school before a fine (UK)?

The headteacher will decide when to report an unauthorised absence to the authorities, which would then lead to further action

There are usually fixed rules regarding this, such as five consecutive days or five different days with a set term. 

What is a Fixed Penalty Notice for unauthorised absence from school?

As the name suggests, a Fixed Penalty Notice for unauthorised absence from school is a penalty fine for your child missing school without a good enough reason. 

Can a child be given a Fixed Penalty Notice?

You might be surprised to hear that a Fixed Penalty Notice can actually be issued to anyone over the age of 10.

However, unauthorised absence from school is typically considered the parents’ responsibility. The Fixed Penalty Notice fine will therefore be issued to the child’s parents. 

Sometimes parents can be shocked to find out their child hasn’t been attending school, and this is sometimes due to bullying. In these cases, there must be support made available from the school for parents and children to overcome the issue. 

What happens if you ignore an unauthorised absence from school FPN?

Each parent has three weeks to pay their £60 fine. If the fine isn’t paid within these 21 days, it automatically doubles to £120 each. Another seven days are granted to pay the increased fine. 

If no payment is made, you can be prosecuted for your child’s unauthorised absence from school, which can lead to a much bigger fine.

Getting the support of a Solicitor can take a huge weight off your mind.

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What is the maximum unauthorised absence from school fine?

The initial fine from the council is £60 to each parent, which doubles if it’s not paid by a fixed deadline

But if the fine the matter escalates, it could materialise into a fine of £2,500. I’ll explain this in detail shortly. 

Prosecution for unauthorised school absence

If prosecuted for your child’s unauthorised absence from school, you will have to attend a court hearing. 

The outcome of the hearing could be a fine of up to £2,500, along with a community order or even a jail sentence of up to three months

A jail sentence isn’t as likely, but you are likely to get a Parenting Order. 

Should you pay an unauthorised school absence fine?

After reading about the potential to be prosecuted and fined up to £2,500, I think we all agree it’s best to pay the fine as early as possible. Remember, if you pay in the first 21 calendar days the fine will only be £60 each. 

Need help with other fines?

My blog doesn’t just include guidance on dealing with Fixed Penalty Notices. I also help people to appeal private parking tickets and council parking fines. 

If you received a Parking Charge Notice or Penalty Charge Notice, you could benefit from my How to Appeal a Ticket post. 

Hire a Parking Solicitor for less than a coffee.

If you’re thinking about appealing your parking ticket then getting some professional advice is a good idea.

Getting the support of a Solicitor can make your appeal much more likely to win.

For a £5 trial, Solicitors from JustAnswer can look at your case and help you create an airtight appeal.

Try it below

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The authors
Janine Marsh Thrifty Family
Janine is a financial expert who supports individuals with debt management, cost-saving resources, and navigating parking tickets.