A REVISED policy for the code of conduct for issuing fixed penalty notices for unauthorised school absence has been approved by cabinet.

The revised policy will be effective from the 2019/20 academic year and provides clarity to schools and families as to when a penalty notice can be issued.

The changes come following a result of the judgement made by the Supreme Court on April 6 2017, to uphold an appeal by Isle of Wight Council concerning the interpretation of what constitutes ‘regular’ attendance.

Under the new code, penalty notices could be issued if any of the following three conditions applies:

1. A pupil has accumulated five or more consecutive days of unauthorised leave of absence (holiday in term time).

2. If due to sporadic absences, then, other than in specific circumstances, the parent/carer will receive a formal warning of the possibility of a Penalty Notice being issued and given a maximum of 15 school days to effect an improvement. If there are further absences within the 15 day monitoring period then a Penalty Notice may be issued.

3. An excluded pupil present in a public place without justification, during the hours of the school day where the pupil is on roll, during the first five days of each fixed period or permanent exclusion.

Coun Tim Cheetham said: “One of Barnsley Council’s corporate objectives is ensuring every child attends a good school as part of achieving his or her potential.

“This updated code of conduct will give head teachers and families clear guidance on when penalty notices may be issued.”