REVEALED: Worksop parents made up almost half of school fines issued across county last academic year

Headteachers in Worksop are still facing a constant battle with parents to stop their kids skipping class, new figures suggest.

By Liam Norcliffe
Wednesday, 25th February 2015, 10:40 am
Outwood Academy Portland
Outwood Academy Portland

A Freedom of Information request by the Guardian revealed that parents whose children attend schools in Worksop racked up almost half of all truancy fines across the county in the last academic year.

A total of 193 penalty notice fines were handed to parents across Notts for unauthorised absences or unauthorised holidays during the 2013-2014 academic year, and 95 of them were for Worksop parents.

Denis McCarthy, targeted support operations manager at Notts County Council, said: “The fact there is a greater proportion of fines for an area does not automatically mean there is a more significant issue with absence.”

“In Nottinghamshire, there are over 110,000 children of school age, so the proportion of parents that receive penalty notices is extremely low, which reflects the council’s measured approach to this issue.”

Parents whose children attend schools in the town were hit with fines totalling £2,160.

The fines were issued on behalf of 28 different schools, including six in Worksop. The figures did not include schools in the city of Nottingham.

A total of 109 cases were listed for court across Notts for the 2013-2014 academic year, of which 37 were for parents in the town. No parents were given suspended or immediate custodial sentences in Notts or Worksop.

Outwood Academy Portland and Outwood Academy Valley have both come under fire recently for their strict policies when dealing with absences.

Carol Gill, associate assistant principal, said: “Two academic years ago, Outwood Academy Portland had a 92 per cent attendance rate and Outwood Academy Valley ended the same year on 93 per cent. Portland has now increased to 95 per cent and Valley to 94 per cent. Not all schools follow the same legal framework, therefore more fines in Worksop does not imply a problem with absence, but only that systematic action is taken when students are absent.”