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Attendance and penalty fines in the Autumn term

The government’s initial return to school statement about attendance fines, for parents whose children did not return to school, caused concern amongst many parents of children with SEND both locally and nationally.

If your child’s lack of attendance at school as a result of the Covid situation, is causing concern and the school is talking about issuing a penalty notice, please be aware that in a letter to schools, Hertfordshire County Council’s (HCC) direction to schools, stated:

 “We (HCC) do not envisage that use of penalty notices to enforce attendance where absence is related to Covid-19 will be appropriate in the majority of cases in the autumn term; and ask you identify pupils who are reluctant or anxious about returning, and to develop plans for those pupils who have been persistently absent before or not engaged in education during the pandemic. These plans should/could include the use of existing pastoral support, catch up and pupil premium funding and other services to support attendance. Schools should also contact their Local Authority Attendance Officer early on where you have concerns for advice, guidance and support on this matter.

HCC said that ”schools should discuss any issues with their senior leadership team and the Local Authority Attendance team, and should any penalty notice application be received from school without a conversation with the Local Authority Attendance Team will not process it.”

For more support and information you can approach the SENDIASS service which has a section on it’s website about Attendance and Exclusions along with contact details. 

Their phone line 01992 555847 operates term time Monday to Friday 9.30am to 3pm and in the school holidays on reduced hours.

Worried about your son or daughter returning to school?

Do raise any concerns with your child’s school/college as soon as possible.  We suggest you do not leave it until the first day of term - this does not give your school/college any time to prepare.


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