Parents in court over children’s truancy

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The parents of a teenager who attended just five sessions out of a possible 160 have been fined hundreds of pounds.

They were among several parents due to appear at Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court last week regarding their child’s attendance record. They were convicted in their absence of being the parent of a child who had failed to attend school regularly and were fined £300 each. An Eastbourne mum appeared before magistrates who heard her 14-year-old son had had an attendance record of 80 per cent and she had failed to attend a meeting about his absences. She said she had not received letters and the court heard since she had received a court summons his attendance had been 100 per cent. She was given a 12 month conditional discharge.

County Councillor Carolyn Heaps said, “I think it’s important for schools and parents to work together on this issue as it could be because of something going on in the family.

“In some cases parents will have tried their best to encourage their child to go to school however, if it is a case of parents not encouraging them to go and a lack of interest in working with the school then I agree that they should be made to realise it’s an important issue.”

Nathan Caine, head of East Sussex County Council’s education support, behaviour and attendance service, added, “The majority of parents appreciate that good attendance is vital in ensuring their children get the very best education possible.

“Where there is an issue with attendance, our behaviour and attendance team works closely with parents and children to find a solution.

“Court action against parents is something we only consider once all other attempts to address the issue have been exhausted.”