Published Thursday, 11th October 2018

With the new school year in full swing, City of York Council is reminding parents of the importance of making sure their children attend all their school sessions.

York’s school attendance rate is high with only 4.4 per cent absence, compared to a national average of 4.7 per cent and a Yorkshire and Humber region average of 4.9per cent.

City of York Council rarely prosecutes parents who don’t ensure their children are at school because it believes that working with schools and parents is the best strategy to maintain high levels of attendance at school.

However, this week (9 October) a prosecution was heard by York Magistrates against a parent whose child had been marked as absent from over 70 per cent of sessions during a four month period earlier this year.

The child, then in year eight at secondary school, was absent for 87 out of a possible 122 sessions between 29/01/18 and 18/05/18, only two of which were authorised absences.

The parent had previously been issued with a fine due to raised concerns regarding the child’s attendance over a number of school years. The parent also failed to provide the school with acceptable reasons for much of the child’s absence and failed to engage with the schools and local authority to support the child’s education.

At York Magistrates Court, the parent pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the regular attendance at the school of their child; an offence under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996. She was ordered to pay a £20 court surcharge with a conditional six month discharge.

Councillor Keith Myers, Executive Member for Education, Children and Young People, said: “Research shows that regular attendance at school is closely linked to overall attainment. We therefore work closely with parents and schools to make sure that all children and young people in York are able to access the education to which they are entitled.

“This work ensures that attendance levels in York are above the national and regional averages and, most importantly, give our children and young people a good start in life. However, where appropriate, we will use court as a last resort to protect the interests of children.”

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