More than 1,100 Wiltshire Parents Went to Court for Alleged Truancy

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From the year 2012 to 2017, the councils, covered by the Wiltshire Police, escorted 1,102 parents to the court.

Out of those 1,102 parents, 74% were found guilty of truancy, and nearly two-thirds were against women.

103 cases were subject to fines according to the figures under the Freedom of Information Act.

The National Education Union’s Dr Mary Bousted said fines were simply counterproductive and were not the most just penalty for truancy.

Bousted said, “One thing that is certainly needed, to ensure pupils are in school and engaged in learning, is a dialogue between the school and parents or carer.

“Fines invariably have the complete opposite effect, creating unnecessary tensions between schools and families.”

With the persecutions for truancy in England and Wales stretching to 18,377 in 2017, this is all part of the government’s measures to investigate unauthorized school absences.

The number increased 6,600 more with parents subjected to over 11,700 fines in 2013.

To sum up, between the years 2013 and 2017, there have been 83,790 prosecutions undertaken and 50,180 fines handed out.

On the other hand, between 2014 and 2017, more or less 400,000 fines were issued for parents in England and Wales.

According to a Department of Education spokesperson, “Evidence shows that every extra day of school missed can affect a pupil’s chances of achieving good GCSEs, which has a lasting effect on their life chances.

“We are clear that pupils can only take term-time leave in exceptional circumstances, and where this leave has been authorised by the headteacher.”

By law, councils and headteachers have the power to fine parents on the spot for unauthorized absences. This is so that there won’t be a need to take the issue to court. If not paid though, persecution must be undertaken.

Furthermore, it has also been found that women were more likely to be guilty of unauthorized absences, with 68% of persecuted women convicted. The percentage is 1% more than men, with only 67% of men found convicted.

According to the chief executive of charity Fawcett Society, Sam Smethers, it’s alarming to see how mothers get penalized more than fathers. Society was “too quick to judge mothers”, he added.

Whether separated or not, parents must ensure children to regularly attend school, and this is a legal obligation.

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