Children, Schools and Families written question – answered on 16th June 2009.

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Photo of Claire Curtis-Thomas Claire Curtis-Thomas Labour, Crosby

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many parents in (a) Crosby and (b) England have appeared in court on charges related to the unauthorised absence of their child from school in the last (i) six, (ii) 12 and (iii) 24 months.

Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Minister of State (Department for Children, Schools and Families) (Schools and Learners)

The Ministry of Justice collects and publishes data for England and Wales on prosecutions brought against parents under the Education Act 1996 for the offence under s444(1) of failing to secure their child's regular attendance at school; and for prosecutions under s444(1A), the aggravated offence of knowing that their child is failing to attend school regularly. It is possible, because of the way courts record data, that some data are also collected under the more general heading of various offences under the Education Act 1996.

The information on the number of parents prosecuted by local authorities in England and Merseyside which includes Crosby for failing to secure their children's regular school attendance between 2006 and 2007 (latest available data) is detailed in the following table. Data are collected on the basis of police force region and not constituency.

The number of persons proceeded against at magistrates courts for offences under the Education Act 1996 S.444, in the Merseyside police force area, and England, 2006 to 2007( 1,2)
Merseyside police force area England
Statute Offence description 2006 2007 2006 2007
Education Act 1996 s.444 (1)(8) Failure to secure regular attendance at school 37 181 4,437 5,903
Education Act 1996 s.444(8)(la)(8a) added by Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 s.72 Parent knows that their child is failing to attend school regularly and fails without reasonable justification to cause him or her to attend school 82 79 1,559 1,840
(1) The statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences the principal offence is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe

(2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.


Evidence and Analysis Unit—Office for Criminal Justice Reform, Ministry of Justice

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