A Penalty Notice is an alternative to prosecution for non-school attendance, which does not require an apprearance in court, whilst still securing an improvement in a pupil's attendance.
Under existing legislation, parents/carers commit an offence if a child fails to attend school regularly and the absences are classed as unauthorised. Penalty Notices were introduced in Wigan in February 2005. They are an alternative to prosecution and may be used in a range of situations where unauthorised absence occurs.
- Initially, a written warning is posted to parents informing them that they have 15 school days in which to effect an improvement in their child's attendance
- In that time, the child must have no unauthorised absences from school
- If the child's attendance fails to improve then the parent is issued with a £60 Penalty Notice Fine
- If this is not paid within 28 days the fine increases to £120
- If this is not paid within 42 days then a court file is prepared for prosecution
There is no statutory right of appeal once a notice has been issued. However, parents can make representation if they believe that the notice has been issued to the wrong person or they can procuce medical evidence to prove the absences were due to illness.