14/08/2014 16:58 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Mum Fined £500 After Son Spent Just THREE Days In School In Seven Months


A mother has been fined £500 after her son spent just three days in school out of a possible 118.

Nicola Duke was one of three parents prosecuted last week for failing to ensure their child attends Furness Academy in Barrow, Cumbria. She was fined £500 plus £120 of other costs.

Figures obtained by the local newspaper showed Ms Duke's son spent just three days in school between January and July 2013.

The figures also revealed how a fellow pupil had a 26 - meaning he was at school for 26 days out of a possible 118.

Furness Academy interim head Des Herlihy said: "We do not comment on individual cases. Good attendance at school is essential to ensure progress and enable children to reach their full potential.

"At Furness Academy we are committed to good standards of attendance and we will use the legal processes open to us to achieve this."

A spokesman for Cumbria County Council added: "Schools and the local authority work closely with families when there are attendance issues and we do all we can to improve attendance and stress the negative impact truancy can have on a child's education.

"While we always look to resolve attendance issues through having discussions and offering support, these three cases send out a message that we will prosecute as a last resort when other methods for improving attendance fail."

Parents of children aged five to 16 are legally responsible for ensuring they attend school regularly - unless they are home educated.

Headteachers, social workers or police can issue parents penalty notices of up to £100 if a child regularly misses school, and their parents have not taken action or asked for help. If this is not paid, a prosecution will follow - and this can lead to a fine of up to £2,500, a three-month jail term or a community sentence.