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Parents fined after Blackpool school’s crackdown on truants

A stock picture
A stock picture

Three mums were fined by magistrates following a crackdown on pupils skipping class at a Blackpool school.

The trio were prosecuted after keeping their children away from Aspire Academy, which education watchdog Ofsted recently told to improve its attendance record.

As well as issuing fines, staff have been knocking on youngster’s doors to make sure they’re up for school – and say the measures are working.

Headteacher Lisa Shuttleworth-Brown said: “The staff of Aspire Academy implement a variety of initiatives to support and improve student attendance.

“Penalty notices are just one of many tools to raise our student attendance and ultimately their attainment levels, to ensure that they can achieve their full potential.

“We strive passionately towards increasing student attendance in order to give our students the best opportunities in their education.

“It is envisaged that by raising the importance of regular school attendance and punctuality that our students and parents/carers will join this journey with us.”

The school is working with the council’s ‘Pupil Welfare Service’, which deals with truancy, and Mrs Shuttleworth-Brown said parents are given ‘lots of opportunity to make improvements in attendance and punctuality before legal proceedings are considered’.

In its report Ofsted said: “Attendance, although improving since the school’s opening, is not high enough.”

It was the Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT) school’s first inspection since it opened following a merger of Bispham High School and Collegiate High School.

PARENTS’ CASES HEARD IN COURT

Michelle Joyce, 42, of Palatine Road, was found guilty of failing to ensure a 13-year-old girl from Aspire, in Blackpool Old Road, attended school regularly enough.

The youngster attended 102 times out of 118, magistrates heard, a record of 86.4 per cent. Joyce had been sent a warning letter before being prosecuted.

Linda Thompson, of Cockerham Walk, Grange Park, was also found guilty after her 14-year-old attended 88 times out of 106 occasions, a rate of 83 per cent.

And Tracey Miller, 40, of The Saw Mills, North Shore, pleaded guilty by letter after her 14-year-old child only attended Aspire 106 times out of a possible 118.

All three were fined and ordered to pay court costs.