Following Government guidance and consultation with schools,
Peterborough City Council has reviewed and re-organised its service
which works with pupils, families and schools to improve school
The service which was formerly known
as the Education Welfare Service is now called the Attendance
Officers spoke to 78 children in the
last truancy sweep and almost half of them – 36 – were with their
parents at the time.
They gave a variety of reasons for
being away from school including birthdays, medical and other
appointments, visiting relatives, and feeling unwell. A number of
the young people were simply out on shopping trips.
Peterborough City Council’s special
projects and attendance welfare manager Jenny Parris said: “Parents
have a responsibility in law to ensure children attend school.
“Children need to attend school to
maximise the benefits of the educational opportunities available to
them and those who do not attend are vulnerable to becoming victims
of crime or could be drawn into anti-social behaviour.
“If parents do not fulfil their
legal responsibilities they are liable to prosecution in the
magistrates’ court, or could face penalty notice fines of a minimum
of £50 - which must be paid all in one sum.
“Penalty notices may also be issued
when parents take children on holidays in term time without the
agreement of the headteacher.”
Peterborough City Council’s
assistant director for learning and standards Mel Collins added: “We
are aware that most parents and carers of children and young people
in the city are working hard to ensure their children attend school
regularly. We are very pleased with the work they and school staff
do together to promote good attendance.
“However, there are a group of
pupils in our schools who continue to have poor attendance despite
everyone’s efforts and we need to work with these children and young
people, their parents and carers and schools to improve their
attendance and help them get the best out of their education.
“These children and young people
only have one chance at school and it is vital that they attend in
order to learn and develop skills for life.”