Lancashire County Council would like to clarify the situation regarding fines issued because of absence from school, following incorrect recent media coverage.
There is no initiative running regarding increasing the amount of money people would be fined because of an unauthorised absence from school. The penalty notice fine amounts for unauthorised absence from school are set by the government and cannot be changed by a local authority.
The decision to authorise absence or not rests with the headteacher of the particular school, and not with the county council. Penalty notices of £120 for each child, which reduces to £60 if paid within 21 days, are an enforcement option that are available to local authorities, if requested by schools. This continues to be the policy.
No figure of £1,000 has been discussed by the authority, or even suggested.
The county council supports and encourages schools to work with parents to reduce unauthorised absences. At the request of headteachers, informal discussions are currently ongoing with schools to look at ways to manage absence, in particular excessive time taken off school for holidays.
At this stage considerations regarding possible changes are simply a way of gathering ideas to try to ensure that children and young people attend school and receive a good education. Our policy regarding absence from school has not changed and there are no plans for this to happen.
County Councillor Susie Charles, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Schools, said: “School attendance is given high priority in Lancashire and rightly so, as every day counts in each pupil’s education.
“We will continue to encourage schools to work closely with parents to reduce unauthorised absences and our aim throughout is not to punish parents, but to ensure that children and young people attend school and receive a good education. We firmly believe that children and young people’s success is linked to attendance and if children miss out on school, they miss out on learning.”