Threatening the parents of persistent truants with prosecution
makes it more likely that they will co-operate with education
welfare services and schools, according to the government.
Feedback from 21 of the 30 local education authorities piloting
a “fast track to prosecution” system suggest that half of parents
threatened with legal action agreed to engage with the authorities
as a result.
Of 1,490 parents facing legal action, only 739 cases reached
courts because the rest agreed to work with agencies to improve
their child’s school attendance.
However, there is no reported evidence that the policy has
actually improved attendance rates.
Under the scheme parents who are deemed to be failing to
co-operate with the school or local education authority in
improving their child’s school attendance are given 12 weeks
(one term) to co-operate, or face prosecution.
In four out of five cases where prosecutions reached court,
parents were convicted.
According to other research by the Local Government Association,
quoted by the Department for Education and Skills, 5,381 parents
were summonsed to court last year across 93 local education