Parents of truant pupils face fines from tomorrow

Parents of truants could be fined up to £100 from tomorrow for failing to get their child into school.

The fine - to be imposed as an alternative to prosecution - is part of a package of powers to tackle misbehaviour in schools and anti-social behaviour on the streets. Local education authorities, youth offending teams, police and the courts will be able to use the new measures.

The powers also include counselling or parenting classes for parents having specific problems with their child's behaviour as part of a voluntary parenting contract.

Parents who are "unwilling to make the effort" to improve their child's behaviour could be fined up to £1,000. The fine would be levied for a breach of a legally binding parenting order from a Magistrates' Court.

The powers expand the range of options available to offer support to help parents change the anti-social behaviour of their children.

Education Minister Ivan Lewis said parents must "play their part" in ensuring that their child attends school.

"Where parents are unable to fulfil their responsibilities, parenting contracts will provide them with the professional support they need and focus on what needs to be done to improve their child's attendance or behaviour," he said.

"However, where parents are simply unwilling to fulfil their responsibilities, it must be right that society demands legal sanctions, and penalty notices for truancy will provide due accountability."

Sweeps have shown that half of all truants apprehended by police are accompanied by their parents.


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