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Record number of Barking and Dagenham parents punished over school attendance

PUBLISHED: 18:30 14 September 2015 | UPDATED: 18:33 14 September 2015

Councillor Evelyn Carpenter

Councillor Evelyn Carpenter

Archant

A record number of parents in the borough have been taken to court because of their children’s poor attendance in the last school year.

Most of the 120 cases resulted in fines or conditional discharges while some were ordered to do unpaid work, electronically tagged or given overnight home curfews.

Barking and Dagenham Council’s Children Missing Education team had 12 cases at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court on September 4, leading to five parents forcelled to shell out for fines and costs of £560 each.

One parent, who had two children with less than a 50 per cent attendance over a three-month period, incurred costs and a fine of more than £1,300.

Another, who took their child on an eight-day holiday during term-time, was fined £400, plus £160 in costs.

Cllr Evelyn Carpenter, cabinet member for school and education, said: “It is very important for parents to ensure their children attend school regularly as it is the cornerstone to every child’s education.

“If they are not in school they cannot be taught. There is a link between good attendance and achievement and the need to do well in school is essential for the future of every child.

“The message from this council and the magistrates is clear – parents need to make sure their children are in school every day and must also work with schools and 
the council if they are having difficulties.”

The council added that with all court cases concerning attendance extensive work is first carried out with parents and that legal action is a last resort.

358 fixed fines were issued to parents for pupil truancy in the 2012-13 school year – almost two for every school day.

Some parents have been summoned to court four times while other have even ended up with suspended sentences as a result of their actions.


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