Parents who have failed to send their children to school have been fined hundreds of pounds.
Oxfordshire magistrates fined one Banbury parent £440 with £176 costs for not ensuring their child attended school regularly at North Oxfordshire Academy.
Another parent living in the town was given a conditional discharge but ordered to pay a £20 victim surcharge and £85 court costs for a similar offence concerning same school.
At the same court session a parent from Oxford was fined £440 and £176 costs for failing to ensure their child attended primary school regularly.
An Abingdon parent was given a conditional discharge with an order to pay a victim surcharge of £20 and costs of £85 for failing to send their child to school. And another Abingdon parent was fined £200 with costs and victim surcharge for a similar offence.
All offences related to the autumn term 2018.
The Banbury Guardian contacted North Oxfordshire Academy to ask for a comment but received no response.
Government regulations on prosecution can result in a fine of up to £2,500, a community order or a jail sentence of up to three months.
NIDirect Government Services’ advice tells parents: “Once your child is registered at a school, you are legally responsible for making sure they go regularly.
“If your child doesn’t go to school, you could get fined or be prosecuted in court.
“Going to school regularly is important for your child’s future. Parents are responsible for making sure their children receive full-time education.
“Talking to your child and their teachers could help solve any problems if your child doesn’t want to go to school.”
The advice says good attendance at school shows potential employers that a child is reliable.
And they say children who go to school regularly might be less likely to get involved in antisocial behaviour or crime.
All schools must record details of pupils’ attendance and absence at school. They do so at the beginning of morning and afternoon sessions.
If a child is absent its parent must tell the school why. The school records the absence.
The Education Welfare Service (EWS) gets this information for each pupil. The Department of Education also receives annual attendance data for each school.
Schools can ask the local education authority to fine parents for non-attendance following formal warnings.
Schools make the decisions following pupil non-school attendance and/or unauthorised holidays in term time.
If you’re having trouble getting your child to go to school, the school and local council can help by offering support to reduce the burden on children where families are in difficulty (for example if a child is spending a lot of time caring for someone) and by working with families to overcome bullying and other serious problems.