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Record numbers of parents getting criminal records for allowing their children to skip school

19 November 2010 5,458 views One Comment

By Laura Clark Mail 19th November 2010
15086156Record numbers of parents are ending up with criminal records for letting their children skip school, figures revealed yesterday.
More than 8,000 were convicted last year over their child’s truancy – a five-fold rise in eight years.
Since tougher sanctions were introduced in 2001, nearly 41,000 parents – mostly mothers – have been convicted over truancy and given a criminal record. Although the traditional image of the truant is of children ‘bunking off’ school and wandering the streets, increasingly truanting takes place with parental knowledge and in some cases consent
Figures released by the Ministry of Justice under the Freedom of Information Act show that in 2009, 10,697 parents in England were taken to court for failing to ensure their children go to school.
Of these, 8,330 were convicted. Most – 5,326 – were fined, while 399 were given community sentences and 54 suspended prison sentences. Fourteen were imprisoned for an average sentence of a month. Thirteen were mothers. The remaining defendants were given an absolute discharge.
The figures show that, on average, 56 parents faced criminal proceedings over truancy every day of the school year.
In 2001, only 1,961 were prosecuted and 1,595 found guilty.

Margaret Morrissey, of pressure group Parents Outloud, said there was no evidence that jailing parents had cut truancy. She added: ‘If you’ve got a 15 or 16-year-old who doesn’t want to go to school, there’s not an awful lot as a parent that you can do about it.’
Mrs Morrissey said there was ‘no evidence’ that jailing parents had improved the truancy rate in schools.

Figures released earlier this year by the Department for Education suggest that unauthorised absences soared under Labour.
In 2009/10, the truancy rate – the percentage of school registration sessions missed without permission from parents – stood at 1.01 per cent.While this was down on 1.03 per cent the year before, it marked a rise on 1996/97 levels of 0.73 per cent.
The Coalition claims Labour failed to get a grip on the literacy problems that can underpin truancy and the poor behaviour which can lead to bullying. It is expected to unveil a package of reforms next week intended to strengthen classroom discipline.
The DfE said the use of prosecution was a matter for local authorities.
Read more: In the Daily Mail article

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One Comment »

  • Michelle said:

    I would be interested to know what percentage of these children are or are suspected to be dyslexic. Children who are struggaling in school due to any of the range of indicators for dyslexia, working memory problems, dysgraphia and dyscalculia will become disaffected and wont want to go to school. I suspect that many of these children needed support and were given little or none at all. and as your article states if a 15/16 year old doesnt want to go to school there is little as a parent you can do. If you are a parent of a younger child who comes home exhausted because school is so difficult and may be being bullyed you will be tempted to keep them at home for some respite. There are very few “dyslexia friendly” schools, I hope that if the coalition is going to unveil a package of reforms that they think about this and dont just blame it on badly behaved kids and disinterested parents. Children who suffer from dyslexia need support but it is very difficult to get them statemented and as such the school doesnt have to assign a T/A and they just struggle on. It is not just a matter of discipline. If help is given early taxpayers are less likly to be supporting these children as adults, jobless or worse still in prison. We are only at school for a shortime but it can make or break your future.

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