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Mums fined for children skipping school

Cheshire East Council said it will prosecute if parents failing to get their children to school

Christopher Furlong/Getty

Three women have been fined for failing to get children to school in a crackdown by education chiefs.

Karen Thompson, 55, failed to get a child to school between December 18, 2015 and March 11, 2016.

In unrelated cases, Jeanette Walker also failed to ensure a child went to school between November 26, 2015 and April 18, 2016, and Kerrie Whalley, 32, failed to get a child to school between December 18, 2015, and March 11, 2016.

The Education Act 1996 makes it a criminal offence for a parent to “fail to secure their child’s regular attendance at the school”.

The trio were summoned to court after failing to pay a Fixed Penalty Notice issued by Cheshire East Council after 28 days.

All three were found guilty in their absence by magistrates in Macclesfield.

Thompson, of Barnsdale Way, Macclesfield, was fined £120 and ordered to pay £130 in legal costs, Walker, of George Street, Macclesfield, was fined £440 with £144 costs, and Whalley, of Hurdsfield Road, Macclesfield, was fined £120 and £130 costs.

A spokesman for Cheshire East Council said: “The council confirms that it will take action, including court action, where parents or a carer fail to ensure that a child regularly attends school without good reason or without an acceptable alternative education provision in place. Each referral to Cheshire East Council by a school for unauthorised absence is considered on its merits.”

The prosecutions are part of a huge rise in the number of families in east Cheshire who are being fined because their children miss classes without permission or reasonable excuse.

In July the Express revealed that the council had issued 53 fines to parents with children at three secondary schools and eight primary schools in Macclesfield and surrounding villages.

It follows a crackdown on term-time holidays brought in three years ago.

The rules were changed meaning headteachers could no longer grant up to 10 days holiday in special circumstances.

Instead they could only grant term-time leave in exceptional circumstances. In 2012-13, before the new rules were introduced, 256 penalty notices for absence were issued across east Cheshire.

This rose to 819 for 2014-15.

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