A COUPLE from Bulwell have been spared prison after their daughter went missing from school for more than a term-and-a-half.
The parents, who cannot be named for legal reasons to prevent the child being identified, were hauled before Nottingham Magistrates Court.
They pleaded guilty to failing to ensure their daughter attended school and breaking the terms of a conditional discharge for a similar previous offence.
The court heard that the youngster didn’t go back to classes after the summer holidays last year and only eventually returned to the school, which has also not been named, after the spring half-term of this year.
District Judge Tim Devas warned the parents that they faced jail because the offences were so serious.
But after considering pre-sentence reports, he ordered the father to complete 180 hours of community service in the next 18 months and sentenced the mum to 200 hours of unpaid work in the community over the coming two years.
Coun David Mellen (Lab), Nottingham City Council’s lead member for children’s services, said: “This judgment sends a clear message that school attendance is a serious matter. Action will be taken against parents where their children’s absence from school is a concern.
“The council has robust systems in place to tackle non-attendance at school and will pursue such cases rigorously.
“The sentence in this case reflects our determination to ensure that a child’s right to education is paramount.”
The city council revealed that just 17 days missed in the school year can lead to a drop of one grade at GCSE level.
Coun Mellen added: “We do understand that some parents need help with their child or teenager. Sometimes school absence is a symptom of a bigger problem in a young person’s life.
“To address these problems, the city council offers a range of advice and practical support to help both parents and young people.
“But unfortunately, some parents allow their children to miss school without good reason.
“I’d like to remind parents that taking their child shopping, letting them stay at home due to a cold or going on holiday during term-time is not acceptable.”