A PARENT who failed to make sure their children went to school has been fined hundreds of pounds.

The Torfaen parent was convicted of failing to ensure their primary school-aged children regularly attended school last week.

Between September 2023 and July 2023, one of the children had 69 per cent attendance, and the other had 71 per cent. Torfaen Council’s target attendance rate is 95 per cent. 

The parent was convicted through the Single Justice Procedure, which allows for verdicts to be decided by a single magistrate in cases where the defendant has not requested a trial in open court.

According to the prosecution case, the parent was offered help by the school and council’s Education Welfare Service to address persistent absenteeism, but failed to respond.

The children were then taken out of school to go on holiday in June 2023, with both children missing nine days of school.  

The parent was issued with two Fixed Penalty Notices, which were not paid despite an extension.

The parent has been ordered to pay a £440 fine, prosecution costs of £120 and a victim surcharge of £176. 

Torfaen Council's executive member for children, families and education, Cllr Richard Clark, 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. 

"Our schools offer a rich and varied education which children miss out on by not attending regularly.” 

The council introduced a new attendance policy in March 2023, which approved the use of Fixed Penalty Notices by schools for unauthorised absences. 

Since then, 96 FPNs have been issued in Torfaen. 

An FPN can be issued when there is a minimum of 10 unauthorised sessions or five school days, a child is persistently late (after the register has closed) and where parents refuse to engage with a school to improve their child’s school attendance levels. 

In more serious cases, a decision can be made to prosecute rather than issue a FPN. Failure to pay a FPN may also result in court action.