School Absence Fines And DBS Checks

Parents in England are increasingly facing legal consequences for taking their children out of school during term time without permission. With new regulations and heightened enforcement, it goes beyond school absence fines. It is important to understand how this might affect your Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check if you are taken to court.

The Department for Education has implemented stricter rules to improve school attendance. Parents who take their children out of school without authorisation can face fines starting at £60, which increase to £120 if not paid promptly.

From September 2024, these fines will rise to £80 and £160, respectively​. If fines remain unpaid, parents can be prosecuted, resulting in more severe penalties, such as higher fines, community orders, or even prison sentences in extreme cases.

The most common prosecution outcomes are fines up to £1,000 for failing to ensure regular attendance, and up to £2,500 or a three-month prison sentence for more serious breaches​.

school absence fines

What shows on a DBS Check?

A DBS check provides details about an individual’s criminal record and is often required for employment, especially in roles involving children or Vulnerable Adults. Here’s how taking your child out of school during term time might reflect on your DBS check:

  • Fines and Penalties:
    • Minor fines for unauthorised absences (e.g., £60 to £160) typically do not appear on a DBS check unless they escalate to a criminal conviction due to non-payment and subsequent court proceedings.
  • Criminal Convictions:
    • If prosecuted and convicted for failing to ensure regular attendance, this criminal record will be recorded. Convictions will be disclosed on all levels of DBS check, depending on how recently the sentence was handed down. For example, a conviction for persistent truancy resulting in severe fines or a prison sentence will definitely be disclosed.
  • Severity and Context:
    • The severity of the offence and context matter. Minor breaches resulting in small fines may not be listed, but any conviction that leads to a more significant penalty (e.g., £2,500 fine or imprisonment) will be included on your DBS record​

Impact on Employment and Other Areas

A criminal record related to school absences can affect employment opportunities, since employers can make employment decisions based on unspent convictions at their discretion.

That said, for roles that involve teaching or caring for children, employers are likely to view criminal records unfavourably, especially those involving legal issues related to child welfare.

Mitigating Factors – School Absence Fines

Parents can argue certain defences in court, such as having obtained prior permission for the absence or demonstrating that the child’s attendance record is generally good. Successfully presenting these defences can potentially prevent a conviction, thus keeping the offence off their DBS checks​

Conclusion – School Absence Fines And DBS Checks

With stricter enforcement of school attendance rules, parents need to be aware of the serious legal consequences that can follow unauthorised term-time absences.

These consequences can extend beyond school absence fines, affecting your DBS check and, by extension, potentially impacting future employment.

Ensuring compliance with school attendance laws and seeking proper permissions for absences is crucial to avoid these serious consequences.

For more detailed guidance and updates on the regulations, it is advisable to regularly check the latest policies from the Department for Education.

Further Reading – School Absence Fines And DBS Checks

Do Cautions Show On DBS Checks?

Does No Further Action Show On DBS Checks?

Will I Have A Criminal Record If Found Not Guilty?


About The Author

FAQ: Do Cautions Show On DBS Checks?

Kellie Dawson

Kellie is our in-house legal expert when it comes to DBS checks. With a background in the legal sector, she has become a recognised authority in this area.


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