There is a duty under Section 437(1) of the 1996 Education Act, which states that:
"If it appears to a local education authority that a child of compulsory school age in their area is not receiving suitable education, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise, they shall serve a notice in writing on the parent requiring him to satisfy them within the period specified in the notice that the child is receiving such education."
If Staffordshie County Council conclude that a child is not being suitably educated a School Attendance Order can be served requiring a parent to register their child at a school named in the order. If the child is not registered or fails to attend regularly, parents and carers can be prosecuted for a criminal offence under the 1996 Education Act, carrying a maximum penalty of £1,000 per parent per child. This offence can also lead to a Parenting Order being made under the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act. If the parent continues to fail to secure the child's attendance without reasonable cause the maximum penalty rises to £3,500 and/or 3 months imprisonment.
Clearly it is better for everyone if parents, carers and Staffordshire County Council can work together without recourse to these measures and it is a very rare occasion when they are used in Staffordshire. Any concerns can usually be resolved through the mutual understanding that comes through open and respectful communication. Parents and carers should be aware, though, that Staffordshire County Council as a whole takes its responsibilities towards all of our young people very seriously and will take any action it believes is necessary to safeguard the welfare of the young people.