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Process for Independent Schools when requesting the Local Authority to prosecute parents for their child’s non-school attendance under section 444 of the Education Act 1996

Parents whose children are registered pupils at a school have a legal duty to ensure their regular and punctual attendance. Failure to do so without legitimate reason is an offence and may result in prosecution. Local Authorities have the statutory duty for taking legal action in these circumstances. Such action is not undertaken lightly and evidence of work undertaken to resolve the attendance problems is required before any prosecution may be undertaken. Independent schools are responsible for undertaking all the necessary casework including the provision of evidence and documentation to the Local Authority in order for legal action to be considered. The decision whether or not to take legal action rests with the Local Authority.

Independent School - Request Prosecution

10 Day Absence Reporting

Reporting of pupils with irregular attendance/10 or more consecutive school days unauthorised absence

The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 Section 12 requires schools to inform the local authority of any pupils who are regularly absent from school, have irregular attendance, or have 10 or more consecutive school days absence without the school's permission. Schools are also under a safeguarding duty, under section 175 of the Education Act 2002 to investigate any unexplained absences. This form has been designed to assist schools comply with their responsibilities. The form should be returned to your Duty Attendance Improvement Officer (AIO) along with a print out of the pupils attendance record. The Duty AIO will contact you if further action is required.

The reporting of a pupil’s absence via this form does not automatically mean that the Area Attendance Team will take further action. Schools should refer pupils to the Area Attendance Team if they require further intervention.

Please return to the Area Attendance Duty Team using secure email system i.e.Schools or Herts FX to:
East area: North Herts, Stevenage, East Herts, Broxbourne and Welwyn Hatfield
West Area: Watford, Three Rivers, Hertsmere, Dacorum and St Albans

Statutory Responsibilities

Removal from Roll Guidance for Schools and Academies All Schools

The ISL Attendance team have have updated the Removal from Roll Guidance for Schools and Academies.

Information Sheet for Academies on Statutory Responsibilities relating to Attendance academies only

The ISL Attendance team have produced an information sheet for academies regarding their statutory responsibilities relating to attendance, together with the answers to some FAQs.

Information Sheet for Maintained schools on Statutory Responsibilities relating to Attendance

The ISL Attendance team have produced an information sheet for maintained schools regarding their statutory responsibilities relating to attendance, together with the answers to some FAQs.

Information Sheet for Independent schools on Statutory Responsibilities relating to Attendance

The ISL Attendance team have produced an information sheet for independent schools regarding their statutory responsibilities relating to attendance, together with the answers to some FAQs.


Holidays in Term Time

Jenny Coles, Director of Children’s Services has provided a standard letter which can be given to parents and carers to support the governing body and headteachers in communicating their decision to refuse a request to allow leave of absence for holidays in term time.

Parent Letter (Schools) Term Time Holidays in schools only


Hertfordshire Local Authority Policy on School Attendance

This Attendance Policy is intended to guide, assist and empower schools to meet their responsibilities and to provide an agreed framework within which consistent practices and procedures can be applied.


Department for Education Guidance on school attendance

For maintained schools, academies, independent schools and local authorities November 2016

Provides advice and guidance on the keeping of pupil registers and the correct use of attendance codes and guidance on the school day and the school year.


Penalty Notices for unauthorised absence/holiday

Following consultations with school representative bodies, governing body groups and Hertfordshire Police we have amended the Hertfordshire Code of Conduct and process for issuing penalty notices for unauthorised absence. This will simplify and speed up the process for schools and academies to make applications to the Local Authority for penalty notices to be issued.

From February 2016 the following changes apply:

  • The number of sessions of unauthorised absence is reduced from 21 to 15 (in the current and/or previous term)
  • The number of letters the school/academy is required to send is reduced from 2 to 1 (the previous warning and breach letters are replaced with a single letter)
  • The process for applying for a penalty notice for unauthorised holiday is now the same as for unauthorised absence
  • Applications must be received from schools/academies within 10 school days of the final absence cited to ensure the penalty notice is issued quickly

A copy of the revised Code of Conduct and Guidance for Schools and Academies document, which includes a new suggested warning letter to parents.

Education Penalty Notices Code of Conduct Guidance for Schools and Academies

We have also produced a separate Code of Conduct document without the guidance for schools and academies section which will be added to and available to the public. A copy of this document is also below. If a parent asks you for the Code of Conduct please send them the document without the school and academy guidance section.

Education Penalty Notices Code of Conduct

Please remember that parents are individually responsible for ensuring their child’s regular attendance and if a child lives with both parents a letter should be sent to each parent as separate penalty notices will be issued and each parent is liable to pay the penalty.

Penalty Notices School Application

* Please be aware that applications made using the reduced number of sessions (15) must be for absences accrued only from February 2016 onwards. Applications which include absences from the autumn term 2015 and up to 31st January 2016 must comply with the Code of Conduct in force at that time and will need to reach a minimum of 21 sessions of unauthorised absence.


Children Missing from Education

Help us to help safeguard children by using the form on the link below and tell us in confidence if you think you know of any children who are missing from education.

The Children Missing Education (CME) Officer will then check on all school aged children (aged 5 - 16) where it appears they don't have a school place and are not being taught outside of the school system.

CME Guidance & CME Referral Form

Guidance on the use of part time timetables for pupils of compulsory school age all schools

As part of the framework for the inspection of services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers (Ofsted June 2015) local authorities are required to provide detailed data on school age children in their area who are not in receipt of full time education and schools are similarly expected to maintain data on students of compulsory school age who are on their roll but attending on a part-time timetable. The Local authority has published guidance for all maintained school, academies, free schools, studio schools, UTCs EScs and PSBs on the use of part time time-tables for pupils of compulsory school age ( the term after their fifth birthday to the last Friday in June following their 16th birthday) All schools are asked to return information on children who are on part time tables within five days of the pupil starting or ending a part -time time table.

Part-time Timetables
Part Timetable Form

Information should be uploaded to AnyCommsPlus to LA service ISL-behaviour (file type part-time timetable) Guidance is available at :


Requests for Absence to take part in activities requiring a Child Performance Licence

The September 2013 pupil registration regulations amendment regarding absence during term time does not affect authorisation of absence for child performances. The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Regulations)2006, 7(1)(a) states that leave of absence may be granted to enable employment for the purpose of taking part in a performance within the meaning of section 37 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1963 (c) under the authority of a licence granted by the local authority.

Section 37(4) of the C&YP Act states if a local authority is satisfied that (where performance dates are given) a child’s education will not suffer by taking part in a performance, then: ‘in the case of an application duly made for a licence under this section which they have the power to grant, they shall not refuse to grant the licence’

Department for Education guidance (Child performance and activities licencing legislation in England, February 2015), section 3.2.1 states: ‘In accordance with section 37(7) of the 1963 Act, where a licence is issued and it specifies the dates that a child is to be away from school to perform then the child’s absence from school is deemed to have been granted such that permission is not needed from the school’

Before granting a licence the local authority must be satisfied that the child’s education will not suffer. A school letter is requested as part of the licence application as confirmation of this. If a school believes a child’s education will suffer as a result of taking part in a performance they should provide reasons to the local authority in writing. The information must be specific to the child (saying for example that it is against school policy is not sufficient). If the school does not provide such information the local authority will issue the licence.

Further information on child performance in Hertfordshire is available on the website :