Friday, 27 November 2015

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18 fines handed to parents of Cumbria's persistent truants

Eighteen fines have been handed to the parents of persistent truants in Cumbria this school year.

The £120 penalty notices – reduced to £60 if paid within 21 days – were issued since the start of September to guardians of pupils who consistently failed to turn up for school.

Figures show the number of fines handed out in the previous year reached 51, pointing to a potential drop in overall penalties by the end of this academic year.

Education chiefs say the fines will come after other methods have been exhausted, including discussions and support for families.

A Cumbria County Council spokesman said: “Schools and the local authority work closely with families when there are attendance issues.

“We do all we can to improve attendance and stress the negative impact truancy can have on a child’s education.”

Persistent absence is classed as school attendance of 85 per cent or less.

As well as fines, other legal sanctions include supervision orders issued by a family court, while parents could also face prosecution in a magistrates’ court.

The spokesman added: “While we always look to resolve attendance issues through having discussions and offering support, we will issue fines when other methods fail.”

Education leaders say children who attend school regularly are more likely to develop good life skills and maintain friendships.

They are also expected to get better qualifications, have access to more opportunities when they leave and stay away from harm.

The law states parents must make sure their children receive full time education in school or elsewhere.

Once a child is registered at school, the parent must make sure they attend regularly and should inform the school of the reasons for any unavoidable absence on the first day they are off school.

Parents may request term time absence only in exceptional circumstances.


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