School absence fines

Attending school is important to help make the most of a child's education and to give them the best start in life.

All schools in Leeds have their own attendance policies. Please contact your child’s school for details of their policy.

Attendance and the law

If your child has an illness or long term medical condition, you will need to let the school know straight away.

Your child must start full time education once they reach compulsory school age. This is on 31 December, 31 March or 31 August following their fifth birthday, whichever comes first.

If your child’s fifth birthday is on one of those dates then they reach compulsory school age on that date. Children in Leeds must stay in full time education until the last Friday in June in the school year they turn 16.

Parents or carers are responsible for making sure that their child attends school. If a child is absent, their school or a local authority Attendance Improvement Officer will get in touch to find out why.

Find out more information on school absence lawsExternal link.

Paying a fine

We are responsible for issuing fines (also known as a penalty notice) on behalf of schools in Leeds.

Fines are £60 per child, per parent if paid within 21 days. If paid between 22 and 28 days, the fine is £120 per child, per parent. This covers the whole period of the child’s absence and paid in full.

If the fine is not paid, parents or carers face prosecution.

To pay a fine by card over the phone, call:

0113 376 0360 (Monday to Thursday, 9am to 5pm, Friday 9am to 4:30pm).

If you have lost a fine notice you can call the School Attendance Service, who will give you the correct details to be able to pay your fine.

0113 378 4895 (Monday to Thursday, 8:30am to 5pm, Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm).

You can also email them at

Support to improve a child’s attendance

You should first try and speak to the school about any problems your child is having to see if they can solve the issue. 

We offer specialist support to families, including:

  • mediating between parents and a school when there is a conflict about attendance
  • helping to identify the cause of their child’s attendance issues (bullying or family breakdown)
  • offering advice to parents who are thinking of drastic measures (changing schools or home schooling)
  • signposting to other support in the families’ local area

For support and advice on absence fines, you can call the Education Line on:

0113 222 4414 (Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, except Wednesdays when we open at 10am)