Parents prosecuted for persistent absenteeism

Posted on: Friday 10 November 2023

The parents of a child who was persistently absent from school have been prosecuted by Torfaen Council. 

Between April and July this year, the child had an average attendance rate of 62 per cent. The council's target attendance rate is 95 per cent.

On Thursday, the parents were prosecuted at Cwmbran Magistrates Court for failing to ensure their child regularly attended school and were each fined £440, ordered to pay £60 costs and £176 victim surcharge.

The court heard the family had been offered a significant level of support from the school and other services, including social care and housing.

The parents were offered regular meetings and extensive assistance from the school's family engagement officer team, including help with getting the pupil to school and food parcels. 

The court was told that the family were inconsistent in engaging with the school and agencies.

Councillor Richard Clark, Executive Member for Children, Families and Education, said: "Every child has the right to an education and prosecution is the last resort. We will always aim to work with families to provide bespoke support to ensure their children can go to school.

"I am pleased the court recognised the extensive help and support the school and Education Welfare Service offered to this child and their parents. 

"This is the first case to go to court since we introduced our new attendance policy earlier this year and we will continue to support this family, as well as any others who need our help." 

During the last academic year, average attendance rates in primary schools increased by one per cent and three per cent in secondary schools.

In March, the council introduced a new attendance policy, which approved the use of Fixed Penalty Notices by schools for unauthorised absences.

Since then, 66 FPNs have been issued in Torfaen.

An FPN can be issued when there is a minimum of 10 unauthorised sessions or five school days, a child is persistently late or where parents refuse to engage with a school to improve their child’s school attendance levels.

In more serious cases, a decision can be made to prosecute rather than issue a FPN. Failure to pay a FPN can also result in court action.

Visit our website for more information about school attendance in Torfaen.

Last Modified: 10/11/2023 Back to top