The parents of two secondary school pupils in Cornwall have been prosecuted for failing to ensure their two children attend school on a regular basis.

Both parents pleaded guilty to the offence of failing to ensure their two children attended regularly at Brannel Community School.

Magistrates in Bodmin were told that the one pupil had a 88 per cent non attendance rate, with the other having a 53 per cent non attendance rate.

The mother was given a six months conditional discharge, and ordered to pay a contribution of £250 towards the council’s costs, while the father, who had previously been in court for a similar offence, was sentenced to a 16 week community order and a curfew which would be in operation between 6pm and 6am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

He was ordered to pay a contribution of £300 towards the council’s costs as well as a victim surcharge of £60.

John Heath, the council’s principal education welfare officer, said he hopes that the sentence will send a very clear message to other parents and carers who are failing to fulfil their legal duty to ensure that their children attend school regularly.

He said: “Education welfare officers in Cornwall work closely with schools, parents and pupils to try to sort out attendance issues.

"This may involve arranging home and school visits to discuss the situation. They will try to find out the reasons why the child is not attending school and take steps to try and get the child back into school. This includes offering support or signposting to other agencies.

 “Prosecution is a last resort when everything else has failed. Where parents are finally taken to court for school attendance offences they do run the risk of being fined or even sent to prison."