School Attendance and the Prosecution of Parents: Perspectives from education welfare service management

Sally Kendall, Kay Kinder, Richard White

11 July 2003

Final report

Data received from 93 Local Education Authorities (LEAs) showed that, in these authorities, in one academic year a total of 5,381 parents were summonsed to court because their child failed to attend school regularly. This is just one initial finding from this research by NFER which involves an in-depth study examining the effects and effectiveness of prosecuting parents as a strategy to combat school non-attendance.

The research, which is the first phase of a three phase study, has been conducted on behalf of the Local Government Association as part of their Educational Research Programme. It provides an overview of the prosecution process within LEAs based on interviews with 122 Principal Education Welfare Officers (or equivalent), and data on prosecutions provided by nearly 100 LEAs for the period September 2001 to July 2002.

This first overview of prosecutions provides the basis for useful debate and exchange of views within and between each of the services connected to the prosecution process. The next phases of the research will contribute to this debate further. Researchers will be relaying the views of representatives from other services (including clerks to the court and magistrates) and also those of parents who have been involved in the prosecution process.

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