Hundreds of parents fined for truancy

Classroom stock'General school classroom . 9 July 2002
Classroom stock'General school classroom . 9 July 2002

Almost 450 penalty notices were issued for truancy in Wakefield during the past academic year according to the latest figures.

Parents or carers can be issued with fixed penalty notices of £50 for truancy, holidays in term time or poor attendance and punctuality.

They can also be prosecuted for failing to ensure a child attends school regularly and on time, leading to fines of £2,500 or even a prison sentences.

Figures released by the department for education last week, show 426 fixed penalty notices were issued in Wakefield, and there were six prosecutions for people who failed to improve their child’s attendance in the compulsory 12-week time frame.

By law parents do not have a right to take their child out of school for a holiday during term time. Only in exceptional circumstances can a head teacher grant permission for leave.

The figures also showed there were 830 persistent primary school absentees in that time, and 1,657 persistent secondary school absentees.

But council chiefs say even just being late by 15 minutes each day can add up to two weeks of missed education a year. The government advises that school’s keep the register open for 30 minutes, but it can be a shorter period of time at the school’s discretion.

If a pupil is late, but the register is still open they are marked as late.

And if a pupil arrives late without satisfactory explanation, and the register is closed, it may be classed as an unauthorised absence.

Nationally, the number of fixed penalty notices issued increased to 41,224, which was up from 32,641 the previous year.