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East Lindsey top of the class for children skipping school

By East Lindsey Target  |  Posted: March 19, 2014

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MORE children skip school in East Lindsey than in every other part of Lincolnshire, new figures reveal.

Statistics show that 676 pupils in the area missed at least 19 days of school between September 2013 and April 2014.

In total, 298 primary pupils and 378 secondary school pupils were classed as ‘persistently absent’.

Together, they make up 4.69 per cent of school children in the district.

Elsewhere, 437 children were classed as ‘persistently absent’ in Boston and 351 skipped classes in West Lindsey. In Lincoln, 478 missed school and in North Kesteven the figure was 478.

The figures were published by the Lincolnshire Research Observatory this week.

In response to the statistics, the county council’s head of school administration John O’Connor said: “School attendance varies across different areas due to Lincolnshire’s rural nature, as well as seasonal influences in the East Lindsey district.

“Due to this we are focussing our efforts on these more pressing areas. Of course, schools and parents also have a vital role to play in tackling persistent absence.

“Consistently over three years we have seen an overall decrease in persistent absence.

“In areas where we have a concern, we target those schools with information and offer support.”

Meanwhile, separate figures have revealed the number of fines being issued to parents of absent children in the county.

Of the 133 given out so far in Lincolnshire, 57 have been given to families in East Lindsey.

The figures come after new rules were introduced to clamp down on school absences.

Prior to September, headteachers were able to authorise two weeks’ leave per pupil, per year.

But the latest Government guidance is that schools should now authorise absence in “exceptional” circumstances, something which does not generally include family holidays.

A fixed penalty notice fine of £60 can be handed out if a child is unauthorised to be absent and misses school for four-and-a-half days over six weeks.

If the fine isn’t paid within 21 days it is doubled to £120 and the parents are given another seven days to make the payment.

A county council spokesman said: “It is the school’s decision to use this approach to address absence, and the local authority’s role to issue a fixed penalty notice based on the evidence provided by the school.

“If a school has asked the local authority to issue a fixed penalty notice, a county council officer checks all the information provided by the school, before it goes to a legal panel.”

The fines are paid directly to the council and money accrued goes back into management to help cover things such as legal costs.

Residents in East Lindsey said parents should be punished for not sending their children to school.

Louth shopper William Baker said: “They need education to put it bluntly, and what they do whilst they’re off is a waste of space really.

“I didn’t have the same opportunity, I was at a boarding school so I had no option and it’s not right.

“A lot of people have taken them off school to go on holidays which is wrong.

Another resident, Ian Meredith, said: “At the end of the day it’s down to the parents.” and Irene Crowson added: “I blame the parents, mine never stopped off unless they were very poorly. “It’s a different age when I was brought up, I was brought up one of eight and we was told ‘meant no, mean no’ and nobody knows the meaning of no now.”

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