Record number of parents convicted over child’s truancy

Thousands of parents are receiving criminal records for their child’s truancy as record numbers are convicted for their failure to turn up to lessons. This is from the Telegraph…

Official figures show almost 10,000 were found guilty over their son or daughter refusing to attend class, which equates to a five fold increase over the past decade.

Last night, critics suggested that a new crackdown on problem families who condone truancy was leading to local authorities placing targets on the number of successful prosecutions.

According to new Ministry of Justice figures, released under Freedom of Information Laws, there were almost 12,800 parents in England and Wales taken to court for failing to ensure their child goes to school.

Of these, more than 9,800 were found guilty and sentenced – a rise of 7.5 per cent from the previous year, the Daily Mail reported.

Those that received punishments, more than 6,400 were fined, 473 undertook community service and 11 were jailed.

In contrast in 2001, almost 2,250 were prosecuted and nearly 1,850 found guilty and sentenced. Between 2001 and 2011, a total of 61,367 parents have been convicted and 153 jailed.

When the latest data for last year is released in May, the rising trend is expected to continue.

Figures from the Department for Education suggest that around 43,000 pupils are playing truant from secondary schools in England every day, with pupils from poorer homes far more likely to skip class.

From this academic year, the parents of truanting pupils can be hit with £60 spot fines – rising to £120 if they go unpaid. This compares to £50 under the last government.

Ministers are now considering plans to dock parents’ benefits as an additional punishment.

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