Parents of children who are continually late for school could face fines of up to £120 from the local councils.

Councils and schools in the West Midlands, Hampshire and Essex have extended the current £60 fine for pupils who go on holiday in term time to those who are late an unacceptable amount. Much like a parking ticket, this amount will double if not paid promptly.

Families have been told they could be prosecuted if they fail to pay the penalty after 28 days.

In Burton, teenager Lucas Nash missed out on his prom at Abbott Beyne School because he had been late for school and missed revision sessions, although his mum claimed this was because he had been with his dad.

Local authorities across the country have the power to set their own criteria for fining families whose children are repeatedly late for school. If brought in nationwide, schools will be the ones to gather the data about children who are regularly late, and it will then be up to the local councils to administer the fines.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Pupils being punctual to lessons not only benefits their learning but also helps them develop core skills which will stand them in good stead for future employment.

“It is right that schools monitor patterns of lateness and address where it becomes a concern.

“It is a matter for individual schools to decide when to close their register and take action as needed, provided it is in line with the local authority’s code of conduct.

What is the law around being late for school?

According to the Government, local councils and schools have various legal powers if your child is missing school on a regular basis without good reason. Parents could be made the subject of a parenting order, an education supervision order, a school attendance order or a fine.

Parenting Order

If you receive a parenting order, you will have to go to parenting classes, following what the court tells you to do to improve your child’s school attendance.

Education Supervision Order

If the council thinks you need support getting your child to go to school but you’re not co-operating, then they can apply for a court for an education supervision order.

A supervisor will be appointed to help you get your child into education. The local council can do this instead of, or as well as, prosecuting you.

School Attendance Order

You could get a school attendance order if the local council thinks your child isn’t get a sufficient education. You will then have 15 days to provide evidence that you have registered your child with the school listed in the order or that you’re giving them a home education.


Your local council could give you a fine of £60, which rises to £120 if not paid within 21 days. If the fine isn’t paid after 28 days, you could be prosecuted, facing up to three months in prison.