School absence fines to rise by £20 for Parent / Carers in England

School absence fines to rise by £20  for Parent / Carers in England

Parents will face higher fines for removing their children from school during term time.

Parent / carers are being cautioned to be aware of increased fines for unauthorised school absences.

Parent / carers in England who take their children out of classes without permission will face higher fines as part of an initiative to increase school attendance.

The initiative follows a drop in attendance since the pandemic and an increase in homeschooling.

The Department for Education (DfE) has said a fine must be considered if a child misses five days of school because of unauthorised absence.

School absence fines currently start at £60, rising to £120 if they are not paid within 21 days. But the DfE has said fines will now start at £80, rising to £160.

More information on this is available at BBC News here

Government to ban mobile phone use in schools

Government to ban mobile phone use in schools

Children will no longer be able to use mobile phones at anytime during the school day

Mobile phones are to be banned in schools across England as part of the government’s plan to minimise disruption and improve behaviour in classrooms. 

New guidance on mobile phones in schools (issued on 19 February 2024) supports headteachers in forbidding the use of mobile phones during the school day, including at break times.  

According to Ofcom, at the age of 12, 97% of children have their own mobile phone.  However, using mobile phones in schools can lead to online bullying, distraction and classroom disruption which, in turn, can lead to lost learning and potentially, exclusions. 

Tribute to a Former CEN Advocate

Tribute to a Former CEN Advocate

Jonathan Bob-Amara 18.07.68 - 20.12.23

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the death of our former colleague, Jonathan Bob-Amara who supported CEN for many years, both as a volunteer advocate and as a member of the CEN team.

Jonathan was held in dear affection by many of the parents and families who he helped over the years, some of whom still ask for him when they contact CEN for additional support.

As a colleague, Jonathan was well-liked, very supportive to other team members as well as volunteers and a great team player, known for being a sympathetic ear to parents using the service.

We hope that you will join CEN in sending Jonathan’s family our deepest condolences and very best wishes.

Jenn Lewis


Looking Behind the Mask

Looking Behind the Mask

For over a week while the world debated that ‘slap', hundreds, and possibly thousands of children were excluded from school for similar random acts, some for even less.

While many commentators chose the comedic route: parody, jokes, gifs, and memes via which to channel their reaction to Will Smith's actions, others sought the route of opinion and curiosity, taking up many miles of column inches: print, WhatsApp, chat rooms - connecting total strangers over group chats with contributors contorting ourselves into psychoanalytic pretzels over the topic to understand, why?

CEN Statement - BBC Radio London (28/04/2021)

CEN Statement - BBC Radio London (28/04/2021)

Of all the students that CEN is currently supporting across London and beyond, we have noticed an alarming number of exclusion cases originating from Harris Academy schools across London. One case in particular at Harris Academy Tottenham, was in the news and was featured on BBC Radio London's Vanessa Feltz show on 28th April. One of CEN's Advocates appeared on the show alongside the parent that they were supporting.

If you are dealing with a current case where your child has been wrongfully excluded, please contact us on 020 7733 0397. 

If you have a past case where your child has been wrongfully excluded and would like to share your story, please email us at



CEN received an award for Community Activism from NABSS (National Association of Black Saturday Schools). This award was in recognition of CEN's work within the community.The event took place on 4th January 2019.

Diversity In The Workplace

Diversity In The Workplace

Our CEO Jenn Lewis, attended an event hosted by one of our funders, the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and whilst listening to the speakers responding to a question about how to make the workplace more diverse, a very quick mental calculation, concluded that CEN's own workforce appeared to buck the trend of white, male domination that exists in the corporate world and even in community-based charities. 

Vulnerable Pupils & Unqualified Teachers-Victoria Derbyshire Show BBC

CEN client Heather Clarke and son Sean appeared on the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire Show in July 2018 to discuss Sean’s experience of being educated at an alternative provision. Subsequent to appearing on the show, an Independent Review Panel,(IRP), concluded that the decision of the governing board to uphold the headmaster’s decision to permanently exclude Sean had been illegal, irrational and procedurally improper. Among the findings of the Independent Review Panel, the panel agreed that the school’s inconsistent application of sanctions had caused Sean to experience indirect discrimination.