From 1st September 2014, Sunderland Local Authority will be using Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for unauthorised absences from school where such absence meets the criteria. The criteria for issuing FPNs are contained in the Sunderland Local Code of Conduct. A frequently asked questions response sheet has also been prepared to assist parents in understanding how the scheme works (the link is below).

There is much research that demonstrates the links between regular attendance at school and academic achievement – the more a pupil attends the more they can achieve. If your child has two weeks off or a number of odd one day absences from school over time, those days cannot be recovered, the learning is missed and your child will be in danger of falling behind and not achieving their full potential.

It is important that we work with you to ensure that your child has good attendance throughout the school year. Therefore, it is important that you support the school by:

  • Making sure that your child attends regularly and arrives on time.
  • Informing the school on the first day of absence on 0191 2193820, if your child is unable to attend due to illness. It is helpful if you can give likely length of the absence.
  • Providing a dated note explaining the absence when your child returns to school if the information has not been communicated by other means.
  • Avoiding family holidays during school time.

In the case of unauthorised term time leave, the letter that is sent by me refusing a term time leave application will be regarded as the formal warning. If you then take the decision to remove your child from school for the holiday, I will request the Local Authority to consider issuing a Fixed Penalty Notice. Each case will be judged under its own merit based upon our school’s attendance policy.

Please contact Mr Dickinson (our Family Liaison Officer), so that we will work together to resolve any attendance problems; there may be times when other agencies (e.g. School Nurse, Early Help workers) are able to offer specialist support. It is vital that you contact us at the earliest opportunity if your child appears unhappy about school so that we can work together to support you and your child.

Although these FPNs may seem a little harsh, we need to work together to make sure that we don’t get to this stage.

Thank you for your support.

FPN FAQ for Parents