THE PARENTS of a “persistently absent” school pupil have been prosecuted by Torfaen council.

Between April and July this year, the child had an attendance rate of 62 per cent, meaning they attended – on average – just three out of five school days per week.

The parents were prosecuted at Cwmbran Magistrates Court this Thursday, November 9, for failing to ensure their child regularly attended school.

They were each fined £440 and ordered to pay £60 costs with an £176 victim surcharge.

The court heard that the family had been offered a “significant” amount of support from the school as well as social care and housing services.

The parents were offered assistance and regular meetings from the school’s family engagement officer team, including help with getting to school and food parcels, but the court heard that the family were inconsistent with their engagement.

Councillor Richard Clark, Executive Member for Children, Families and Education, said: "Every child has the right to an education and prosecution is the last resort. We will always aim to work with families to provide bespoke support to ensure their children can go to school.

"I am pleased the court recognised the extensive help and support the school and Education Welfare Service offered to this child and their parents.

"This is the first case to go to court since we introduced our new attendance policy earlier this year and we will continue to support this family, as well as any others who need our help."

Torfaen County Borough Council introduced a new attendance policy in March which approved the use of Fixed Penalty Notices by schools for unauthorised absences.

An FPN can be issued when there is 10 or more unauthorised sessions or five school days, a child is persistently late, or parents refuse to engage with a school to improve their child’s attendance.

In more serious cases, a decision can be made to prosecute.