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Truancy: Prosecutions

Volume 506: debated on Wednesday 3 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many cases associated with parents not ensuring their child attended school have been heard in court since 1997. (318229)

Information from the Ministry of Justice court proceedings database on the number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts for offences relating to failing to attend school in England, 2001 to 2008 can be viewed in the attached table. Prior to 2001 these offences cannot be separately identified.

These data are a further breakdown of those published in the Criminal Statistics, Supplementary Volumes for England and Wales for the years 2001-08.

The number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates' courts at all courts for offences relating to 'failing to attend school1,2

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Proceeded against

1,961

3,163

3,849

4,442

4,648

5,999

7,745

9,506

1 Includes the following:

(i) Failure to secure regular attendance at school. (Education Act 1996 S.444 (1)(8)).

(ii) Parent knows that their child is failing to attend school regularly and fails without reasonable justification to cause him or her to attend school. (Education Act 1996 S.444(8)(1a)(8a) added by Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 S.72).

2 Prior to 2001 these offences cannot be separately identified.

Notes:

1. The statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences the principal offence is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

2. Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

Source:

Justice Statistics Analytical Services - Ministry of Justice.

The increase in the number of cases over this period reflects a sustained drive, led by the Government, to improve levels of school attendance including by encouraging local authorities to make more use of their powers to proceed against parents who are failing in their legal responsibility to ensure their children receive a full time education. The outcome has been a significant improvement in school attendance, with on average 71,800 more children attending school each day in 2007-08 than did in 2000-01.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many prosecutions for offences related to parents not ensuring their child attended school have resulted in conviction since 1997; and what the average fine imposed in respect of such convictions has been. (318241)

Information from the Ministry of Justice court proceedings database on the number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts for offences relating to failing to attend school in England, 2001 to 2008 can be viewed in the following table. Prior to 2001 these offences cannot be separately identified.

These data are a further breakdown of those published in the Criminal Statistics, Supplementary Volumes for England and Wales for the years 2001 to 2008.

The number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts and average fine imposed for offences relating to ‘failing to attend school’1,2

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

200£

Proceeded against

1,961

3,163

3,849

4,442

4,648

5,999

7,745

9,506

Found guilty

1,595

2,572

3,065

3,549

3,740

4,720

6,035

7,291

Average fine imposed (£)

98.7

108.3

111.0

112.4

119.2

123.5

127.3

144.3

1 Includes the following:

(i) Failure to secure regular attendance at school. (Education Act 1996 S.444 (1)(8)).

(ii) Parent knows that their child is failing to attend school regularly and fails without reasonable justification to cause him or her to attend school. (Education Act 1996 S.444(8)(1a)(8a) added by Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 S.72).

2 Prior to 2001 these offences cannot be separately identified.

Notes:

1. The statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences the principal offence is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

2. Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

Source:

Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice.

(Ref: IOS 85-10)

The increase in the number of cases over this period reflects a sustained drive, led by the Government, to improve levels of school attendance including by encouraging local authorities to make more use of their powers to proceed against parents who are failing in their legal responsibility to ensure their children receive a full-time education. The outcome has been a significant improvement in school attendance, with on average 71,800 more children attending school each day in 2007/08 than did in 2000/01.