More than 100 parents prosecuted after their children played truant

A school pupil plays truant.
A school pupil plays truant.
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Scores of parents in Sunderland were prosecuted last year for allowing their children to skip school.

In total, 115 people faced charges during the academic year from September 2014 to August 2015.

Councillor Pat Smith, Sunderland City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, said the authority takes a very proactive approach to preventing absenteeism in city schools.

However, the issue is taken very seriously.

She said: “Any absence from school, for whatever reason, is detrimental to a child’s long-term life opportunities.

“Missing school damages a pupil’s attainment levels, disrupts school routines and can leave a pupil vulnerable to antisocial behaviour.

“Firstly, we work closely with schools, parents and pupils on addressing issues that might be causing absenteeism, and we see court action as a last resort.”

Latest national figures have revealed the number of parents being taken to court over their child skipping school is rising, with thousands facing action last year.

In total, 16,430 people in England were prosecuted for failing to ensure that a child went to school in 2014 – equivalent to about 86 cases for each day of the school year.

This is up a quarter up on 2013 when 13,128 people were taken to court.

The hikes come in the wake of a major crackdown on children missing school, including strict new rules on term-time holidays introduced two years ago.

Parenting group Netmums warned that in a lot of cases truancy is a complicated issue and families may need professional support.