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Parental Responsibility: The Consequences of Truancy

It’s not always easy to encourage your children to go back to school after the summer holidays. But what’s the worst that could happen if you fail to ensure your children attend school?

Truancy School Children

You might think missing a few classes is unlikely to impact on anything other than your child’s attendance record, but you’d be wrong. There is evidence to suggest it can have an impact on their academic achievements, and you could be fined or even sent to prison.

There has been a large increase in the number of parents who have been prosecuted for their children playing truant from school. Last year alone there were 16,430 parents prosecuted and 76% of those people were convicted.

In the UK, 9,214 people had to pay fines for their children’s absence from school with the average fine being £172. Plus 18 parents were sent to prison on account of their children’s truancy.

If you are separated and your ex is failing to encourage your child to attend school, truancy could be used to form part of a case for your child to live with you instead. A failure to encourage your child to attend school could be viewed by the court as a failure to meet the welfare needs of your child.

The latest HM Government statistics showed that, after illness, the most common reason for absence from school was a family holiday. This includes both agreed and non-agreed family holidays.

There are strong links between good attendance and higher academic achievements at schools in the UK as evidenced in a recent Teachernet report. Schools where the average absence was 7.5 days or fewer per pupil per year, had 90% of their pupils gain five or more A* - C grade GCSEs. Schools where the average absence is more than 20 days per pupil had only 31.3% of pupils achieving five good GCSE grades. Primary schools with an average absence of fewer than 7.5 days per pupil had 87.5% of their pupils reach Level 4 at Key Stage 2. Where average absence is more than 15 days, only 62.1% of primary school pupils aged seven to 11 achieved Level 4.

If you take your child on holiday during term time they could struggle to catch up with work and this could impact upon their educational attainment. If you want to take your children away on holiday during term time, not only must you obtain the permission of the school, you must also get the consent of every person with Parental Responsibility if the holiday is outside of the UK.

Taking a child outside of the UK without the other parent’s consent could be classed as child abduction. For more information on this topic read our blog Do You Need Permission to Take a Child Abroad?

If you plan on holidaying abroad with your children or have concerns as to arrangements for their care you can talk with a Child Custody Solicitor to help clarify your legal situation. For further advice call us on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online.


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