Dozens of Hartlepool parents prosecuted after their kids play truant

Empty seats in the classroom.
Empty seats in the classroom.

Hartlepool parents are among those who have been paying the price of letting their children skip school.

During the last academic year, between September 2014 and August 2015, 34 parents in the town were prosecuted in relation to unauthorised absence from school.

There are also a further 14 court cases pending.

Among the punishments from court were fines, community orders, conditional discharges, suspended sentences and a caution.

Six of the cases were withdrawn due to an improvement in the attendance of the child at school.

During the academic year, Hartlepool Borough Council also issued 112 fixed penalty notices.

The notices are £60 if paid within 1-21 days or £120 if paid between days 22-28. Failure to pay after 28 days can result in prosecution.

Latest national figures show the number of parents 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 around 86 cases for each day of the school year.

This is up a quarter 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.

An Ofsted spokesman said: “Attendance in schools is of the utmost importance. Pupils who are truanting are not only missing out on their education, but are also at risk of harm. It is therefore right that schools should set high expectations.”