Parents taken to court over school absences

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Scores of Lancashire parents have been prosecuted for not making sure their children attended school.

Figures released by Lancashire County Council reveal that already this year 89 people have been dealt with by the courts.

There were 217 prosecutions in the whole of the previous year .

Council chiefs go through a number of processes before people end up with in court.

Penalty notices, carrying a £120 fine, are usually issued if a pupil misses 20 sessions, (half days) without permission. If it’s paid within 28 days the fine drops to £60.

From September the payment period will be reduced by half.

Is the fine isn’t paid parents receive warnings before prosecution takes place.

Frances Molloy, school attendance lead for Lancashire County Council said: “Taking parents to court over non-attendance at school is a serious matter which we always consider carefully.

“Schools try to engage with parents before absenteeism becomes a serious problem and support is available from schools and the local authority for parents who are experiencing difficulties.

“If this does not improve the situation, a penalty notice may be issued.If this fails to work, we have a duty to consider whether prosecution is required in order to ensure a child’s right to an education.

“However our aim throughout is not to punish parents but to ensure that children and young people attend school and receive a good education.”

She added that the Government is changing the rules on on authorised absence and said: “From September, it is anticipated that headteachers will only be able to grant holiday leave in exceptional circumstances, and we envisage these occasions will be few and far between.”