Truancy parents face court action if children don't turn up at school
Parents in Somerset have been warned to ensure their children go to school - or face the consequences.
With the new school year now under way, Somerset County Council has told parents and guardians they will face fines of up to £2,500 and the possibility of up to three months in prison if their children don't turn up at school.
It follows a week of sweeps carried out during April by education attendance officers, supported by Avon and Somerset Police, when 118 children were stopped in the street or found at home.
The council said that, since the sweep, attendance at school has improved for the majority but legal action has been taken against 14 parents.
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Council cabinet member Frances Nicholson said: “I am glad that the follow-up work from the attendance sweeps has been to such good effect with improved attendance by the vast majority of pupils identified earlier this year as being truant.
“It is regrettable that in some cases further action has become necessary, but I entirely support officers in their efforts to get all children to school.
“As I have said in the past, if our children are to get the education and qualifications they need to compete in the job market, set up their own business or go on to higher education, they need to turn up for school.”
The council said most parents did not attend the magistrates' court hearings at which they were fined.