Number of parents in court for truancy falls

Cllr Neill Young
Cllr Neill Young
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THE number of parents in Portsmouth who have been taken to court over their child skipping school in the past year has fallen.

According to Portsmouth City Council, there were 142 prosecutions in the 2014/2015 academic year, compared to 149 in 2013/2014.

Councillor Neill Young, cabinet member for children and education at Portsmouth City Council, said it’s important that the authorities take action against parents.

‘Prosecution has to be the last resort but we need to send a very clear message to parents that taking their children out of school during term time for any other reason than illness is unacceptable,’ he said.

‘They aren’t damaging themselves but they are damaging their children’s education.

‘It has to be extreme circumstances.

‘When parents are taking children out of school, there has to be action.’

In total, 16,430 people in England were prosecuted for failing to ensure that a child went to school in 2014 – equivalent to around 86 cases for each day of the school year.

This is up a quarter on 2013 when 13,128 people were taken to court.

Hampshire County Council did not supply figures, despite requests from The News.