Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh parents prosecuted over persistent truancy

Three parents in Edinburgh are facing criminal prosecution in a crackdown on truancy.

Edinburgh City Council has moved for criminal proceedings against the parents over alleged persistent failure to ensure their children attend school.

At least two other authorities in Scotland have taken similar action in recent years.

If convicted, parents can be sent to jail for a month or asked to pay a £1,000 fine.

The council said prosecution was a last resort if parents did not respond to informal and formal interventions.

It has set a target of improving attendance by almost half a per cent, bringing the level up to 95% in primary and 91.5% in secondary.

Paul Godzik, Edinburgh City Council's education, children and families committee convener, said: "Prosecution is a last resort. Before we consider it we will use all available recourses and statutory interventions to try and improve a pupil's attendance.

"If, however, these steps do not help, and parents do not take adequate measures to improve their child's attendance at school, then they will need to answer for their child's poor attendance in court.

"This sends out a clear message to parents that poor attendance at school has serious consequences, and also that we as a council will do everything possible to help children get the education they deserve."

Glasgow City Council has raised more than 200 actions in the past two years. A spokeswoman said many parents plead guilty and are fined as a result.

Dundee City Council said that, over the past five years, 44 parents had been prosecuted, resulting in 26 convictions.

There have been reports of some people being jailed in England and Wales but this is not thought to have happened in Scotland yet.

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