Leicester

Leicestershire truancy court action rises by 60%

The number of parents taken to court in Leicestershire over their children's truancy has risen by 60%, according to official figures.

In the academic year 2010-11, 226 were prosecuted - compared with 141 in the previous 12 months.

The county council said it had focused on Year 11 students, introducing a fast-track process to move cases through the legal system.

Fines connected with school non-attendance range from £30 to £1,000.

The county council said it strongly supported head teachers and governors in taking a firm stance when dealing with unauthorised absences.

Ivan Ould, Cabinet Member for the Children and Young People's Service, added: "High attendance at school is extremely important as it improves pupils' performance and prepares young people for what will be expected of them in employment, further and higher education.

"Children and young people in Leicestershire should be given every opportunity to succeed and strong action should be taken against parents who do not ensure their child attends school."

The National Union of Teachers said programmes which focused on the causes of truancy had shown better results than simply punishing parents.

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