The parental responsibility measures attendance (PRMA) census is a mandatory, local authority level, data collection – collecting information on parental responsibility measures issued to address poor attendance in state-funded schools including academies and free schools.
Data is collected annually for the previous academic year, for example the 2019 PRMA census (open September-November 2019) collected information for the 2018/19 academic year.
Local authorities submit their PRMA census returns via the Department’s data collection software, COLLECT. Guidance on the PRMA census is available on GOV.UK.
Background and changes to data collection
Data has been collected on parental responsibility measures since their introduction in academic year 2004/05.
The PRMA census was previously named the parental responsibility measures attendance and behaviour census (PRAB) and captured data on parental responsibility measures relating to behaviour and exclusions from school as well as unauthorised absence. Since autumn 2012 (academic year 2011/12), the PRMA census has no longer collected data on penalty notices, parenting orders and parenting contracts relating to behaviour and exclusions.
From 1 September 2013, the timescale for payments stated on penalty notices reduced to 21 and 28 days from 28 and 42 days and the PRMA census was amended to reflect this.
In the 2016/17 academic year, changes to the data collection were made to provide more insight into penalty notices and allow for more robust findings from the data collected.
Additional questions (responded to on a voluntary basis for 2016/17), were added on:
- the reason for penalty notices being issued
- the number of unresolved penalty notices at the end of the period
- the number of education supervision orders issued during the period
Amendments have also been made to the following questions but these items remained mandatory:
- the number of penalty notices paid and withdrawn has been restricted to penalty notices issued during the period only
- Fast-track case management questions have been expanded to cover any cases of attendance case management rather than just fast-track cases.
Data published from 2013/14 onwards include the number of penalty notices issued as a proportion of all pupil enrolments. This information is not available prior to this as enrolment data relating to pupils in special schools and pupil referral units is not available.
The pandemic has had two major impacts on the data presented in this publication, described below. School attendance was also significantly disrupted in the 2020/21 academic year. As such all figures should be treated with caution when comparing to other years. Except for the two periods of lockdown set out below, we have made clear that schools and local authorities are able to use their usual measures to improve attendance where appropriate.
No data is available for 2019/20
Due to the additional burdens faced by local authorities during the pandemic, a decision was also made not to run the data collection exercise for the 2019/20 academic year. This data has not been retrospectively collected and is therefore not available. Care should therefore be taken when looking across time periods that would otherwise include 2019/20.
During this period, disapplication notices were issued covering the period 1 May 2020 to 23 August 2020 which coincided with the first period of national lockdown.
Disapplication of offences in 2020/21
Due to the pandemic, the Secretary of State for Education issued legal notices, under the Coronavirus Act 2020, disapplying section 444(1) and (1A) of the Education Act 1996. These notices covered the period 7 January 2021 to 6 March 2021 which coincided with the period of national restrictions.
These notices disapplied offences relating to the failure of parents to secure regular attendance at the school of a registered pupil, and guaranteed that parents would not be prosecuted or receive a criminal conviction for not sending their children to school during this period. This was in line with the Secretary of State’s commitment that no parent would be penalised for following public health advice.
What PRMA information is collected?
Local authorities are expected to supply the following via their PRMA census returns:
Penalty notices for unauthorised absence
1. Total number of penalty notices for unauthorised absences issued during the period
1a. Total number of penalty notices by main reason: unauthorised family holiday absence
1b. Total number of penalty notices by main reason: late arrival
1c. Total number of penalty notices by main reason: other unauthorised circumstances
Payment of penalty notices
2. During the period, the number of penalty notices paid within 21 days
3. During the period, the number of penalty notices paid between 22- 28 days
Withdrawal of penalty notices
4. During the period, the total number of penalty notices withdrawn
Reasons for the withdrawal of penalty notices
4.a. The number of penalty notices withdrawn as the penalty notice was issued outside the terms of the local code of conduct
4.b. The number of penalty notices withdrawn as they ought not to have been issued or issued to the person named as recipient
4.c. The number of penalty notices withdrawn as it appears that notice contains material errors
4.d. The number of penalty notices withdrawn as after expiry of 28 days, penalty is unpaid and LA does not wish to bring legal proceedings Prosecutions relating to unpaid penalty notices
5. During the period, the number of cases prosecuted following non-payment Unresolved penalty notices
6. Number of unresolved penalty notices at the end of the period (i.e. penalty notices not falling into the paid, withdrawn or prosecuted category by the end of the period)
Attendance case management relating to absence from school
7. Total number of cases entering attendance case management during the period, including those entering the fast-track case management system
8. Total number of attendance case management cases prosecuted during the period, including those within the fast-track case management system [Only include cases opened in the period]
9. Total number of attendance case management cases withdrawn, before prosecution, during the period, including those within the fast-track case management system [Only include cases opened in the period]
Reasons for withdrawal of Attendance case management cases
9.a. Total number of attendance case management cases withdrawn because attendance improved, including those within the fast-track case management system
9.b. Total number of attendance case management cases withdrawn for another reason, including those within the fast-track case management system
9.c. Please specify the reason for those cases withdrawn for another reason in Q9b
Parenting orders for unauthorised absence
10. Total number of parenting orders granted following unauthorised absence prosecution (ancillary orders) within the period
11. Total number of parenting orders implemented following unauthorised absence prosecution within the period
12. Total number of parenting orders not implemented following unauthorised absence prosecution within the period
Reasons for not implementing parenting orders
12.a. Total number of parenting orders not implemented due to a lack of provision
12.b. Total number of parenting orders not implemented due to a breach by a parent
Parenting contracts for unauthorised absence
13. Number of parenting contracts offered within the LA following unauthorised absence within the period
14. Number of parenting contracts offered in Q13 that were accepted by parent
Education Supervision Orders
15. Total number of education supervision orders issued during the period
15.a. Total number of education supervision orders issued during the period in place of prosecution
15.b. Total number of education supervision orders issued during the period in addition to prosecution
What parental responsibility measures information is not collected
School, pupil and parent level data
Data is collected on the volume of penalty notices, fast-track cases, parenting orders and parenting contracts at local authority level. The number of penalty notices issued by an individual school or in regards to an individual pupil are not collected. Furthermore, as a parent may be issued multiple penalty notices during an academic year, and as separate penalty notices may be issued to both parents of a pupil, it is not possible to identify the number of families issued penalty notices from the data collected. The same is true for fast-track cases, parenting orders and parenting contracts.
Termly parental responsibility measures data
The Department collects parental responsibility measures data annually. All data is provided by local authorities as aggregate year-end totals. The time between the issue of a penalty notice and withdrawal, payment or prosecution can stretch between school terms. Penalty notices may also be issued after a number of incidents of unauthorised absence and termly data would not necessarily reflect the number of notices or when they occurred.