Absence thresholds: New £80 fines will hit disadvantaged pupils hardest

The families of one in five pupils would have received fines for school absence if new government thresholds had been implemented in 2022/23, with those living in poverty with SEND hit hardest.
Image: Adobe Stock

A national framework for parental fines is being introduced from September with fines of £80 for any pupil who misses 10 or more half-days within any 10-week period.

An analysis published this week (Bibby & Thomson, 2024) and based on attendance data from almost 10,000 schools considered the number of pupils who would have broken this new threshold in 2022/23.

While the results show that the bulk of fines would have been given to secondary-age pupils, at primary level 15% of primary pupils would have broken the threshold in years 3 to 6, with a slightly higher proportion being fined in years 1 and 2. The highest rate of fines would have been in Reception (around 17%).

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