Council takes tough stand on school absence

A Wirral mother has this week received an eight week jail sentence suspended for 18 months, along with a 12 month supervision order, for failing to ensure that her two daughters attended school.

Coming at the start of the school year, the case highlights Wirral Council’s tough stance on non-attendance at schools.

Councilor Tony Smith, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Lifelong Learning said: ‘Fortunately, school attendance in Wirral is above the national average, but there are some children who are missing out on important life chances and education because their parents fail to ensure they attend school.

‘Wirral Education Social Welfare Service works closely with parents, schools and other agencies to ensure that children gain the maximum benefit from education.

‘By law, children between the ages of 5 and 16 must attend school unless they are being educated at home. Prosecution for non-attendance is always a very last resort but where action is necessary, we will always put the interests of the child first and fulfill our statutory duty to prosecute the parents,’ he added.

Last year 85 parents were prosecuted via Wirral Magistrates Court with 51 receiving fines between £35 and £400. In the same period 89 Fixed Penalty Notices were issued.

Parents who are concerned about their children's school attendance are advised to contact the Council’s Education Social Welfare Service.