NI: Northern Ireland parents taken to court 700 times for poor pupil attendance

Nearly 700 court cases have been taken against parents in Northern Ireland over the past five years due to their children failing to appear at school.

The figures were published by the Education Authority in response to a question from Alex Easton MLA in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Parents are legally required to ensure that children between the ages of 4 and 16 receive a full-time education.

Education authorities in Northern Ireland are reported to typically intervene once a pupil’s attendance drops below 85 per cent.

Parents can be fined up to £1,000 for each child who fails to attend.

A total of 139 parents have been taken to court in the 2014/15 year, down from 160 in 2013/14 and 192 in 2012/13.

The figures are also broken down into the five former education regions, which were abolished upon the creation of the Education Authority in April.

Belfast had the lowest number of court actions of any of the regions, with no court actions at all in 2014/15.

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