Schools are only allowed by law, to authorise non-medical absences if requested in advance by a parent with whom the pupil normally resides.
A school can only authorise such a request if they are satisfied that there are “exceptional circumstances” which apply. However, even if there are exceptional circumstances, schools can still consider any other relevant factors such as previous attendance rates; the ability of the pupil to catch-up on missed work; the wider impact of missing the specified period of time.
If a request is unauthorised by the school, a penalty notice may be issued by Devon County Council. A penalty notice offers a parent the opportunity of dealing with a potential offence without going to court, by paying a penalty.
If parents cannot afford to pay, or for any other reason do not take the offer of paying the notice within a set time, then the case will proceed to a magistrates court. The provision of penalty notices is set by Regulations and the amount of the penalty, time frame for payment or payment method are not able to be varied by Devon County Council.
Parents should note that only one penalty notice per parent per child will normally be issued within a two year period. Any second ‘offence’ within a two year period will be referred straight to court.