Agreed by Education legal department September 2016
The Local Authority is fully supportive of the national drive to raise school attendance, recognising the crucial link between attendance and attainment. It is already clear from attendance data to date that the strategy of actively discouraging the taking of holidays in term time has resulted in a significant improvement in attendance across schools in Swansea Council.
For holidays: Please note that there is not an automatic right to withdraw pupils from school for a holiday. There is a margin of discretion for head teachers to agree to your request and in line with national guidance, your Child(ren)’s absence will be judged on merit and may not be authorised. Please see our school policy on attendance (on our school website).
The Welsh Government (WG) Education (Penalty Notice)(Wales) Regulations 2013 states that Local Authorities (LA’s) are required by law to adhere to the Education Act 1996 section 444 to include penalty notices as one of the interventions to promote better school attendance.
Sections 444A and 444B of the Education Act 1996 provide that certain cases of unauthorised absences can be dealt with by way of a penalty notice. A penalty notice is a fine of up to £120 and may be issued to a parent / carer as a result of a child’s regular non-attendance at school / educational provision. This will take effect from January 2015.
The school adheres to the code of conduct for penalty notices as issued by ERW and agreed by the Local Authority, and therefore may request the local authority to issue a penalty notice in certain cases.
Penalty notices can be issued for the following reasons:
When a pupil has a minimum of 10 sessions or 5 school days lost due to unauthorised absences during the current term and bringing the overall school attendance to below 90% in the school year to date.
10 sessions or 5 school days lost due to holidays in term-time if the absence takes the whole school attendance to below 90% in the current school year to date.
10 sessions of persistent lateness after the register has closed in a term bringing the attendance to below 90% in the current school year to date, or a combination of the above.