Truancy court cases increase

The number of parents taken to court over their child's truancy has increased, with almost 13,000 facing charges last year, official figures show.

'Both parents and schools need to support children'

The co-founder of a leading parenting website has said that there may be complex reasons why a child may not want to go to school, in response to rising truancy rates.

Sally Russell, co-founder of Netmums, said:

Parents may be trying hard, doing their best, but the young person is feeling that they cannot go.

Some children may be the victims of bullying, others may be suffering from anxiety, or feeling that they cannot cope in school.

There are also rare cases these days where they cannot afford the bus fare or lunch money to be able to send them to school.

Both parents and schools need to be making sure that the support is there for the child.

– Sally Russell, co-founder of Netmums

'Parents have a responsibility' on truancy

The general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has said that parents should take responsibility for getting their child to school.

Brian Lightman said:

School leaders and teachers do all they can for children, but they need them there to be able to do so.

Parents have got a responsibility. If they really cannot get a child to go to school they should seek help, schools and local authorities can offer help.

To be defeatist and say 'I can't make the child attend, or behave' is unacceptable and damaging for the life chances of that child.

– Brian Lightman, general secretary of ASCL

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Truancy court cases in major increase

The number of parents taken to court over their child's truancy has increased
The number of parents taken to court over their child's truancy has increased Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The number of parents taken to court over their child's truancy has increased, with almost 13,000 facing charges last year, official figures show.

The figures, obtained by the Press Association via a Freedom of Information request, show that record numbers are facing prosecution for failing to ensure their child goes to school, with fines or jail sentences being handed out.

Of those found guilty, 11 were jailed, with an average sentence of just over one month.

The figures show that 12,777 people in England and Wales were prosecuted for two truancy-related offences under the Education Act 1996 in 2011 - up from 11,757 prosecutions in 2010.