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The number of truancy fines handed to parents has increased by 27% in the last year, official figures have shown.
According to data from the Department for Education, 52,370 penalty notices were issued in 2012 to 2013, up from 41,224 the previous year.
However, separate figures show that overall absences were down from 6% of school sessions in 2009/10 to 5.2% in 2012/13.
Persistent absences - where students miss 15% of school or more - were down by around a third to 300,895 in the same period, the figures showed.
In September 2012, the government increased fines for truancy from £50 to £60, and from £100 to £120 if not paid within 28 days.
A top Government adviser wants parents whose children play truant from school, to pay fines out of their child benefit.Read the full story ›
Facebook users have been commenting on ITV News' webpage about Government proposals to introduce tougher penalties for parents whose children play truant. See below for some of the latest comments. To join the debate click here.
Theresa Marshall said: "It should be the last resort, first the parents, teachers and child should sit round a table and talk about it. There may be an underlying reason, like bullying or a disrupted home life, that needs to be sorted out first!"
Sarah Wiley Wiles said: "Even the most skilled parents have experienced trouble with their children attending school at times. Is this not just another government trial at breaking the financially deprived even more? It is time the government invested more money into education..."
Schools exclusions tsar Charlie Taylor is proposing parents who allow their children to persistantly truant will be fined.
He told Daybreak that if parents do not pay within a certain time period the fine will be doubled and may ultimately be deducted from benefits if it remains unpaid.
A leading family support charity says removing benefits if children are truant will do little to help the situation. 'Family Lives' says schools should work with parents to deal with the underlying issues, such as family breakdown, bullying or having to care for parents or other children.
The Government's expert adviser on behaviour also wants the truancy rules to be toughened up around term-time holidays. Latest figures show that these remain a major reason for absence and in 2010/11 increased to 9.5% of overall absence, from 9.3% the previous year.
The proposed overhaul of the truancy fines system would see:
- Head teachers impose a fine of £60
- Non-payment after 28 days would mean the fine is doubled to £120
- Money would be recovered automatically from child benefit
- Parents without child benefit would have money recovered through county courts