Decrease in pupils playing truant coincides with rise in parents being fined when children skip class
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Tuesday 19 March 2013
A record number of parents faced fines because their children played truant from school last year, official figures reveal today.
The clampdown on unauthorised absences appears to be working, as the increased number of fines coincided with a drop in the number of pupils skipping lessons,
They show more than 41,000 parents were issued with a penalty notice in the last academic year - up more than a quarter on the previous year’s statistics.
Meanwhile, the number of persistent truants - those who missed more than a month of schooling - dropped by nearly 60,000 from 392,305 to 333,850.
The results appear to be a vindication of Education Secretary Michael Gove’s drive to combat truancy. They show that 22,043 of those fined paid up within 28 days - after which the fine doubles from £60 to £120. A total of 6,361 parents were prosecuted for non-payment of fines.
A spokeswoman for the Department for Education said: “If children are not in school, they cannot learn. Too many of our children are still missing too many lessons. We must continue to tackle poor attendance and make sure every pupil gets a good education.”
The figures show that on average a primary school pupil misses just over seven days of school while a secondary student misses just under 14.
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