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In the UK there is apparently a £60 fine per child "per absence" (not sure if this is per day or per contiguous block of days) for taking them out of school.

Where is this fine legislated? The only thing I can find is the amended Education Act 1996 section 444 which says:

(1) If a child of compulsory school age who is a registered pupil at a school fails to attend regularly at the school, his parent is guilty of an offence.

(1A) If in the circumstances mentioned in subsection (1) the parent knows that his child is failing to attend regularly at the school and fails to cause him to do so, he is guilty of an offence.

...

(8) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

(8A) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1A) is liable on summary conviction—

(a) to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale, or

(b) to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, or both.

(Yes they can really send you to prison for going on holiday with your children. Insane law.)

Anyway, level 3 and 4 on the standard scale are £1000 and £2500 respectively. I can't find any mention of £60. So my questions are:

  1. Where is the £60 mentioned?
  2. Bonus: Does any legislation clarify whether the fine is per day or per contiguous block of days.
  3. Bonus: Does any legislation clarify what "regularly" means in the Education Act? I think one could argue that attending school for the entire year except 1 week is attending regularly.
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    Its not an insane law, it was intended to stop the increasing number of families taking children out of school to take them on a holiday (as its substantially cheaper during school term time) and the escalation to prison time is intended to have an impact on those people who can simply afford to absorb that cost. – Moo Feb 2 at 21:11
  • Well you're sort of right because it's pretty clear that the original law was aimed at keeping children in school "regularly", not every single day without fail. That's the insane part. The idea that a single missed week has a non-negligible long term effect is based on very dubious statistics (read the last 3 paragraphs especially). – Timmmm Feb 3 at 13:09
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The original level of the fines was set in regulation 4 of the Education (Penalty Notices) (England) Regulations 2007.

This was then amended by regulation 2 of the Education (Penalty Notices) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2012:

Amount of penalty

2.—(1) Regulation 4 (amount of penalty) of the Education (Penalty Notices) (England) Regulations 2007 is amended as follows.

(2) In paragraph (a), for “£50” substitute “£60”.

(3) In paragraph (b), for “£100” substitute “£120”.

Note that the 2007 regulations were further amended in 2013 to to shorten the period in which the penalty notice must be paid to the local education authority.


The meaning of "regularly" was, after a lengthy court case, defined by the Supreme Court in 2017 to mean:

in accordance with the rules prescribed by the school

So in other words, it's up to school to determine whether a child has attended regularly or not. In this instance, the child missed 7 days of school without authorisation; and despite otherwise having a good attendance record, the court ruled in favour of the local education authority.

(Link to text of full judgement.)


Does any legislation clarify whether the fine is per day or per contiguous block of days?

As far as I can tell, it's up to the school or local education authority to determine when any particular threshold has been reached. Each fine requires a separate notice, as detailed in the 2007 regulations; and in the event of a dispute, a court can arbitrate.

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