|Massive Hike in Penalty Notices For Truancy|
Ealing has seen a big increase from previous year
There's been a sharp rise in the number of penalty notices issued to parents of children who truant from school's in Ealing.
Ealing has approximately 37000 pupils of statutory school age.
In 2008/09, 28 fixed penalty fines were issued and by 2010/11 the number of penalties rose to 183*.
This increase reflected the increasing recognition by schools of the benefit of legal action alongside the range of other supportive measures taken by schools and the Local Authority.
A council spokesperson said the rise in penalty notices '' reflected the increasing recognition by schools of the benefit of legal action alongside the range of other supportive measures taken by schools and the Local Authority.
''In high schools the rate of persistent absence improved from 3.9% to 2.9 % over that period (2008/9 to 2010/11) and primary persistent absence improved from 2.0% to 1.7%.
''In both years Ealing had less persistent absence that the national rates.''
400,000 children were persistently absent from England's schools in the past year and missed about one month of school each.
Issuing fines is one of the last resorts for schools to deal with absence problems.
Currently, penalty notices for truancy can be given to parents who allow their children to miss too much school.
They can be issued by head teachers, council officers and the police, and lead to fines of £50 - doubling to £100 if parents fail to pay within 28 day
The policy was introduced in 2004 and now the Government's adviser, Charlie Taylor, has announced fines should be increased, with money taken automatically from their child benefit if parents fail to pay.
Mr Taylor, was commissioned by Education Secretary Michael Gove to look at the issue of school attendance in the wake of the summer riots last year.
The plan is for head teachers to impose a fine of £60 (a £10 increase) on parents they consider are allowing their child to miss too much school without a valid reason. If they fail to pay within 28 days, then the fine would double to £120 (a £20 increase) - and the money would be recovered automatically from their child benefit.
* NB this has been corrected from earlier copy which was citing the Guardian report - as these were incorrect figures.
20th April 2012