Which school has the most unauthorised absences?
- Credit: Archant
The county council is fining less than one per cent of families in St Albans district and Radlett for 46,000 unauthorised school absences last year - amounting to 23,000 school days.
This is according to a Freedom of Information request submitted to Herts County Council (HCC), asking how many unauthorised absences there were and how many fines were issued to families.
In 2016/17, there were 46,974 unauthorised absence sessions (one session equals a half day) from schools in St Albans district and Radlett, an increase of 17 per cent on 2015/16 and a 230 per cent increase since 2012/13, which registered only 14,196 sessions for the whole year.
The school with the highest proportion of sessions was Roundwood Park School in Harpenden, which recorded 3,811 sessions. Coming in second-place was Samuel Ryder Academy in St Albans with 3,390. Third-place belonged to Marlborough Science Academy, 2,132, which Ofsted recently commended for having a ‘welcoming atmosphere’.
Yet HCC only issued 30 fines for the whole area, punishing 0.06 per cent of cases.
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A HCC spokesperson said: “Hertfordshire County Council issues Penalty Notices, when requested to do so by school, where there are 15 or more sessions (a session being half a day) of unauthorised absence during the current and/or previous term.
“If a Penalty Notice is not paid within 28 days the council will review each case before deciding whether to prosecute.
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“Our Penalty Notice policy reflects current legislation and guidance.”
The school in Radlett with the most unauthorised absences was Fair Field Junior School with 1,061.
The school with the fewest unauthorised absences in St Albans district and Radlett was Hertsmere Jewish Primary School with 74. Schools differ in size so the proportion of unauthorised absence sessions are partly dependent on the school’s population.
The Herts Advertiser also asked HCC what percentage of fines were appealed and what percentage of cases did not cause fines to be issued, however the council does not hold this information.
To find out how many unauthorised absences there were from your child’s school, visit hertsad.co.uk.