Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) for school absences

Fixed penalty fines can be issued to parents or guardians if the children in their care are absent from school for any of the following reasons:

  • truancy (including pupils found during truancy patrols)
  • holidays taken during term time
  • persistent late arrival to class (after registration has closed, on 10 occasions in any 10-week period)
  • exclusion (pupils stopped on a truancy patrol in school hours during the first five days of an exclusion)
  • poor attendance (of four or more sessions within a term)

A fine of £60 for each child is issued to each parent or guardian. If the fine is not paid within 21 days, another £60 fine will be issued; both must be paid within 28 days of the date when the original fine was issued. 

For example, if a family of four (two parents and two children) goes on an unauthorised holiday during term-time, each parent must pay £120 if paid within 21 days, rising to £240 if paid later.

Decisions on whether to allow a leave of absence during term-time are made by individual schools, not the council.

There is no right to appeal. Fines will only be withdrawn if they are found to have been issued in error. If parents or carers believe an absence to have been classified incorrectly, they need to take this up with the school rather than the council, as whether or not the council issues a fine depends on the school's classification.

Paying the Fixed Penalty Notice

The council sends out a letter to parents or carers describing why the fine was needed, along with an invoice. Full details of how to pay are shown on the back of the invoice, which can be paid quickly online  

Unpaid fines

If the fine is not paid, the council may begin legal proceedings in the Magistrates Court against the parents or guardians for failing to ensure their child's attendance at school. If convicted, each parent or guardian may face a fine of up to £1,000.

FPN Code of Conduct

We have a code of conduct that explains, in more detail, how we issue Fixed Penalty Notices for school attendance. Download our Fixed Penalty Notice Code of Conduct (PDF 403kb)

For more information

If you have received a fine, and wish to challenge the reasons given, please contact the school in the first instance, as schools determine how an absence is classified.

For any further queries, please contact:

Access to Education
First Floor,
Hove Town Hall,
Norton Road,
BN3 4AH

Tel: 01273 291378