Families fined for skipping school

Almost 600 penalty notices were issued for truancy in Kirklees during the past academic year, according to the latest figures.

Parents or carers can be issued with fixed penalty notices of £50 for truancy, holidays in term time or poor attendance and punctuality.

Figures released by the department for education last week show 581 fixed penalty notices were issued in Kirklees, and there were 10 prosecutions for people who failed to improve their child’s attendance in the compulsory 12-week time frame.

By law parents do not have a right to take their child out of school for a holiday during term time.

The figures also showed there were 901 persistent primary school absentees in that time, and 1,377 persistent secondary school absentees.

Nationally, the number of fixed penalty notices issued increased to 41,224, which was up from 32,641 the previous year.

A spokesman for the council said that overall, school attendance in Kirklees has seen a positive increase in primary, secondary and special schools, and attendance exceeded the national average for the school year 2011/12.

He said: “These figures show our commitment to raising school attendance locally and to reducing the levels of persistent absence.

“The local authority works closely with all our schools to prioritise ways to continue to perform well, in particular supporting schools where persistent absence is identified.”

It works with schools to provide advice and support to families where it is needed, and will only fine or prosecute as a last resort.