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GUILTY VERDICTS FOR PARENTS PROSECUTED BY GREENWICH LBC

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Ten parents in Greenwich who were found guilty this week of failing to send their children to school have been warn...
Ten parents in Greenwich who were found guilty this week of failing to send their children to school have been warned by magistrates that they could be arrested if they fail to turn up at a court hearing next month.

The ten were among the first group of parents to be brought before magistrates by Greenwich LBC as part of a crackdown on parents who fail to send their children to school.

In all, 12 parents were summonsed to Woolwich magistrates court on 28 January, of whom 10 were found guilty. Their cases were adjourned until 25 February, to allow eight of the ten to be the subject of pre-sentencing reports.

Only five of the 12 were present at this week's hearing, and magistrates warned that they would be prepared to issue a warrant for the arrest of any parents who fail to turn up to the adjourned hearing.

One parent received a conditional discharge after explaining the details of her circumstances to the court.

Peter Kotz, Greenwich LBC's cabinet member for lifelong learning, said: 'Parents who don't send their children to school are failing those children and damaging their future. The council is determined to take action to make sure that children don't miss out on a full-time education.

'The attendance of some children in Greenwich schools is unacceptably low and this is a situation that cannot be allowed to continue. Parents who allow their child to stay away from school should understand that they will be required to account for themselves, and that if problems persist then we will take action - through the courts if necessary.'

Notes

1Parents who are found guilty by courts of failing to send their child to school can face punishments ranging from parenting orders to£2,500 fines and even imprisonment.

2'If we go to school we can become anything we want!' - was the message behind the campaign launched last term by Greenwich LBC, aimed at encouraging parents to give their children the best possible start in life by making sure they go to school. The campaign has already brought about significant improvements, with some pupils increasing their attendance by 15 per cent.

2Currently school attendance levels in the borough are lower than the average for London and for the country as a whole. Absences among secondary children in Greenwich amount to an equivalent of an average of one month per child each year.

3The council has expanded its team of truancy patrol officers. They will stop school-aged children found during school hours on their own or with adults.

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