Parents face fines for truant children

The government has launched fast-track prosecutions for the parents
of persistent truants as new figures show that over 40 per cent of
children in some areas evade school.

Statistics published by the Department for Education and Skills for
the first time show that, in many areas, truancy rates in primary
schools now equal or exceed rates in secondary schools.

In Tower Hamlets in east London, 48 per cent of the borough’s
primary age children truanted for an average of four days in

Under the latest initiative from the DfES, parents could face
parenting orders, fines of up to £2,500 or imprisonment if
they fail to ensure that their child attends school regularly
within 12 weeks. The new fast-track process is to be piloted in six
local education authorities in England from next month.

But Dorit Braun, chief executive of Parentline Plus, said: “Rather
than blame parents, shouldn’t we put our energies into supporting
them? While it may be helpful to give parents a time limit to get
their children back in school, we need to make sure they are
getting the help and support they need to make positive changes.”

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