School attendance and absence

Legal action to enforce school attendance

There are different types of action we can take if your child is missing school without a good reason.

Education Supervision Order

If we think you need support getting your child to go to school but you're not co-operating, we can apply to a court for an Education Supervision Order. A supervisor will be appointed to help you get your child into education. You may be prosecuted if you don't comply with reasonable directions.

Penalty notice

A penalty notice is an alternative to being taken to court. Each parent of the child will be issued with a penalty notice. Anyone who has parental responsibility or day-to-day care of a child – even if they don't live with the child or are not a biological parent – may be issued a penalty notice.

The penalty is £60 per parent per child if paid within 21 days. This increases to £120 per parent per child if paid within 28 days. If payment is not made within 28 days, we may start criminal case proceedings against you through the Magistrates' Court.


Prosecution at the Magistrates' Court could result in you getting:

  • a fine of up to £2,500 per parent per child
  • a community order
  • up to 3 months in prison

The court can also give you a Parenting Order.

Parenting Order

If the court gives you a Parenting Order, you have to go to parenting classes for up to 12 weeks. We will arrange and supervise the parenting class. You'll also have to do what the court says to improve your child's school attendance.

If you don't do what the order says, your case may be taken back to court and you may be given a more serious penalty.

School Attendance Order

You'll get a School Attendance Order if we think your child is not getting an education, either at school or otherwise – for example, by education at home.

If you are given a School Attendance Order, you must register your child with the school listed in the order. If you don't, you could be prosecuted at the Magistrates' Court.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the types of action listed above, you can contact us below.

School Attendance Support Team
Thurrock Council, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, RM17 6SL

: 01375 652 568