Legal sanctions

The Education Welfare Team’s Legal Notice to Parents (PDF) gives a summary of your legal responsibilities as a parent and the sanctions available to the Local Authority.

Fixed penalty notices (FPN)

Most FPNs are issued to parents who take their children out of school for holidays or family occasions where the head teacher’s permission has not been given. Holidays or visits to relatives should take place during the fourteen weeks when schools are closed.

FPNs are issued to both parents and for each child; a family with 3 children could receive 6 FPNs in all. We require payment within 21 days, or the cost doubles. Parents who have not paid by the 28th day can expect to be prosecuted and receive a fine and a criminal record.

Parents have no right of appeal against an FPN but can contact the Education Welfare Team in writing at the address below or by e-mail to, providing evidence that there is an error in the issuing of the FPN. Documentation might include details of enforced travel changes, medical emergencies or other events that caused the child to be missing from school.


If you're prosecuted and found guilty of an offence, you may get a criminal record or fine, though magistrates have other options.

Before the council decides to prosecute, we will hold a Court Assessment Meeting to offer a final opportunity for parents to comply with the law.  At each of these meetings, it is stressed to parents that our main interest is for the child to return to full-time education.  Secondary-school pupils usually attend these meetings.

Education Supervision Orders (ESO)

An Education Supervision Order issued by the Family Court is an alternative to prosecution and is under consideration at Court Assessment Meetings.

School Attendance Orders (SAO)

A School Attendance Order is issued by the Education Welfare Team to enforce enrolment in a school where a parent refuses to place a child in school.  This process is managed by the Children Missing from Education Officers.



Education Welfare Team

North London Business Park (NLBP) 
Oakleigh Road South 
N11 1NP

Tel: 020 8359 2000

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