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Fines to be issued to each parent if children off school

Photo: PA.

Children playing truant from school will be targeted by special patrols involving Education Welfare Service officers, supported by police during a day of action across Nottingham today.

Parents of any child found to be out of school without a valid reason could be issued with a £60 fixed penalty notice.

Whilst recent figures show persistence absence has fallen in the area, in the last academic year up to July 2017 there were 315 penalty issued to parents in Nottingham for unauthorised absence and 196 parents were prosecuted.

Truancy 'hotspots' across the city will be targeted by the council's Education Welfare Service and Community Protection Officers supported by Nottinghamshire Police today.

Any children found outside of school, may be taken back to school or their home address. Parents could be issued with a fixed penalty notice.

Credit: PA.

The council also wants people in the community to report children they see who should be in school by calling a hotline number - 0115 876 1949.

Fines of £60 per parent, per child are issued through the courts for unauthorised absence. If this is not paid in 21 days, the fine doubles to £120 per parent, per child. If the fine is still unpaid, courts can impose tougher fines (with court costs) of up to £1,000 - and even have the power to issue prison sentences.

The day of action does not apply to children who are educated at home. Councillor Sam Webster from Nottingham City Council, said:

"Our message is a strong one, but we have to be clear: children who are registered with a school need to be in that school - it's the law. It's not acceptable to be off school in term time, missing school can seriously harm your child's education.

We want all parents to be in no doubt that the City Council will take action when a child is persistently absent without agreement from the school. Missing 17 days of school has been proved to be the difference between getting one higher grade at GCSE level - and that is crucial for our young people."

– Councillor Sam Webster.
Police are supporting the day of action today. Credit: PA.

All money from fines is ploughed back into school attendance programmes and initiatives.

The department has issued this advice for parents to help children attend school:

  • Making sure your child gets to school on time
  • Do not book holidays during term time
  • Contact the school the first day a child is off sick
  • Remember, over the past few years, pupils with the best or most improved attendance have been given prizes at the annual Lord Mayor's Attendance Awards.

More help and advice on attendance is available from www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/schoolattendance