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Parent prosecuted for poor school attendance

City of York Council

3:42pm 13th January 2012

City of York Council yesterday (12th January) prosecuted the parent of a child, aged 16, who failed to attend school regularly.

York Magistrates Court heard that the child, aged 16 and in her final year of compulsory education, had failed to attend her school, in the north of the city, on 118 out of a possible 146 occasions. Her absence rate was around 80 per cent.

Her parent pleaded guilty and was given a 12 month conditional discharge by the magistrates and ordered to pay a total of £258 towards the costs.

Secondary school attendance rates in York are amongst some of the best in the country making all the more stark this young person’s circumstances.

This prosecution came at the end of a long history of support from both the school and the Local Authority.

City of York Council had invited the parent to meet with them so they could inform them of the possible consequences should the children’s attendance not improve. The school and the Local Authority had also written to the parent on a number of occasions to explain their concerns and mention the possibility of legal action being taken if she did not ensure their children attended school regularly.

Mark Smith, Schools Adviser, City of York Council, said:

“The council only uses the courts as a last resort where attempts to encourage good attendance have failed, but our priority is to protect the interests of the children who are being denied the education to which they are entitled.

“The child had poor attendance records going back some years and the Local Authority and other agencies had worked to support the parent though throughout that time. However, this is thankfully a rare case, as attendance in our schools is excellent.”

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