Sections 444 Education Act 1996
Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003
Crime and Disorder Act 1998

The Fixed Penalty Notice Scheme for unsatisfactory school attendance is in use in West Sussex. This document offers you a brief summary about the Fixed Penalty Notice scheme and what it could mean for you.

What is a Fixed Penalty Notice?

It is a fine given for unauthorised absence from school, rather than the matter being brought before the courts. It is issued per parent, per child. Please note ONLY a Headteacher can authorise absence from school.

Who issues them?

In West Sussex the Local Authority issues them through the Pupil Entitlement: Investigation..

When are they used?

• When a pupil has a minimum of ten school sessions recorded as unauthorised in a ten school week period; A school day is divided into two sessions, am and pm.

• Persistent late arrival at school after the register has been taken and is recorded as an unauthorised absence.

• A holiday in term time which has not been authorised by the Head Teacher. The Government has directed Head Teachers to only grant leave for a holiday in exceptional circumstances.

• FPNs can also be used during the first five days of an exclusion. Parents are made aware of the consequences by letter when a child is excluded from school.


If the school refers a period of absence that is longer than fifteen consecutive school days; Pupil Entitlement: Investigation may consider that a FPN is not appropriate. In these instances the matter may instead be brought directly before the Courts.

How much is the fine?

The FPN is issued with an invoice for £120 and twenty eight days are given for you to settle the penalty. If the FPN is paid within the first twenty one days the amount payable is reduced to £60.

How do I pay?

Information regarding payment would be included on the Fixed Penalty Notice, payment cannot be made in part or by instalments.

What happens if I don’t pay?

If you don’t pay within the twenty eight days the Local Authority will consider instigating a prosecution in the Magistrates Court for the offence of poor school attendance. If proven this could result in a fine of up to £1,000 per parent per child &/or a parenting order or a community service order and also costs.

Can I appeal?

There is no statutory right of appeal once a notice has been issued.

Can I be prosecuted if I pay the Fixed Penalty Notice?

You cannot be prosecuted for the period of absence identified in the Fixed Penalty Notice. You may subsequently be prosecuted for further periods of unauthorised absences from school. Each case is considered on an individual basis.

* * * REMEMBER * * *
School staff would much rather work with parents/carers to resolve poor
attendance than resort to enforcement actions like Fixed Penalty Notices or Court action. 

Pupil Entitlement: Investigation
Fixed Penalty Notice Team
West Sussex County Council 
2nd Floor Centenary House
Durrington Lane
West Sussex
BN13 2QB
Advice Line Phone: 03302 228200
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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