8:00pm Monday 12th November 2012
By Peter Magill
EDUCATION bosses have given a fresh warning to parents in Burnley and Pendle after a truancy sweep snared the families of four absentee pupils.
Schools’ chiefs say court action will only be used as a last resort – but prosecutions will be mounted if problems persist.
Burnley has some of the county’s worst absenteeism figures and there are ongoing efforts with schools to address the issue.
In the latest round of prosecutions, Shewly Akhtar and Shah Hussain, of Ennismore Street, Burnley, were prosecuted over the failure of eight-year-od Taibah Shah to attend Heasandford Primary. Each was fined £35 with £25 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
Syeda Akter and Syed Hasan Ali, of Leamington Avenue, Burnley, were convicted over a similar offence, at the same school, involving 10-year-old Syeda Khatun. They each received fines of £100 with £25 costs and the £15 victim surcharge.
Naila Kauser and Mohammed Khan, of Southfield Street, Nelson, were similarly convicted over the non-attendance of five-year-old Alishba Kauser, at Walverden Primary, provoking fines of £400 apiece with £25 costs and the surcharge.
Mike Snelson, senior education adviser at Lancashire County Council, said: “Taking parents to court over non-attendance at school is a serious matter which we always consider carefully.
“Schools try to engage with parents before absenteeism becomes a serious problem and support is available from schools and the local authority for parents who are experiencing difficulties. If this does not improve the situation, a penalty notice may be issued.
“If this fails, we have a duty to consider whether prosecution is required in order to ensure a child’s right to an education. However our aim is not to punish parents but to ensure children receive a good education.”
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