Penalty Notice referrals for Persistent Absenteeism
PNs are an early intervention strategy that can be used as an alternative to referring a case to the Locality /Early Help teams for pupils who are persistently absent from school and where attendance is the only concern. In cases where attendance issues are more entrenched or complex a referral to Locality/Early help team should be made
A PN for persistent absenteeism would only be issued where a pupil has failed to attend school regularly over a six-week period (when his/her attendance has fallen below 85%). This may comprise a series of single or half-day unauthorised absences or a block of unauthorised absences for reasons such as illness where no evidence has been provided.
As with PN referrals for leave during term time, detailed information is required on all applications in order for the ACE team to make an informed decision on whether a PN should be issued. A fully completed form should be forwarded to ACE with all the required evidence.
Once this information has been received then the request will normally be actioned within 10 working days of receipt and a response will be provided to the referring school.
The response to a PN referral for persistent absenteeism is generally to issue a PN Warning, whereby a 15-day monitoring period would be established in order to give the parent an opportunity to improve their child’s attendance and avoid a subsequent fine. Should the child have 5 or more sessions of unauthorised absence during the 15-day monitoring period, a PN will be issued. Please see Appendix C for a flow-chart of action following referral.
A parent will not normally receive more than one PN resulting from the unauthorised absence of an individual child in any twelve month period. If unauthorised absence persists after the issue of the first PN, it may be appropriate to prosecute or address the attendance using an alternative intervention.