Pay your child's penalty fine for missing school

Parents and carers are legally responsible for making sure their children go to school every day and on time. The school may ask us to issue a penalty notice if:

  • the child does not attend school regularly
  • you take your child out of school to go on holiday
  • your child is found outside of school more than twice in 12 months
  • your child persistently arrives late for school after the register is closed

We recommend contacting the school to find out their own attendance policies.

Read our school attendance guidance for more information about absences from school.

Paying a penalty notice within 21 days

If you pay within 21 days, each parent will need to pay £60 for each child that has missed school.

Pay within 21 days

Paying a penalty notice within 28 days

If you pay within 28 days, each parent will need to pay £120 for each child that has missed school.

Pay within 28 days

Make sure you have your penalty notice number ready.


You can not appeal a schools decision to request a penalty fine. Failure to pay and discharge your liability will result in prosecution.

If you feel the penalty notice was wrongly issued, you will need to contact the school. We are unable to overturn a school's decision if they have decided the leave was unauthorised.

View our code of conduct for issuing penalty notices.


The offence under Section 444 (1) of the Education Act 1996 carries a maximum fine of £1000 and we'll will also seek to recover costs.

The more serious offence under Section 444 (1a) has a range of legal interventions for the court to impose on each responsible adult, including:

  • fine of up to £2,500
  • community-based sentence
  • three months imprisonment
  • subject to a Parenting order – can be added to other sentences
  • costs may be awarded to us

Contact us

If you have a query regarding payment of the penalty fine, email [email protected].