As a parent you are legally responsible for ensuring that your children receive a suitable education. Should your child fail to regularly attend the school at which he/she is registered then the council may take legal action against you and you may be prosecuted for your child failing to attend school.
Failure to ensure a child’s regular attendance at the school at which he/she is a registered pupil is a criminal offence under the Education Act 1996. If convicted under Section444(1) of the Act a parent can be fined up to £1000 for each offence. A conviction under Section444(1a)–which is the more serious offence when a parent knowingly allows a child to be absent from school without authorisation–can lead to a fine of up to £2,500 and/or 3 months in prison . If a parent is prosecuted under Section444 (1a) he/she will be formally cautioned and interviewed under the Police and Criminal Evidence (PACE) Act1984.
Do I need a Solicitor to represent me for my child failing to attend at school?? YES
Education prosecutions are very common and we often represent people summoned to Court for non-attendance at school.
You will be able to challenge the grounds on which you have been prosecuted if you can demonstrate one or more of the following:
- Your child’s absence was authorised by the school;
- You child’s absence was caused by sickness or some other unavoidable cause; if you
state that you child was absent due to illness you will need to produce a note from a
doctor or health professional to prove this;
- Your child was absent due to an act of religious observance;
- The distance from your home to your child’s school is beyond the statutory limit for
walking and no transport is available; the limits are 2 miles for children aged under 8
and 3 miles for children aged 8 and over;
- Your child is not registered at the school and you are providing suitable education at home or elsewhere.
Should you receive a summons a you should obtain legal advice to consider if you have a defence to the charge or instruct us to present your mitigation to the Court.
Please call our team of experts on 0151 4805777