New slogans for a campaign to improve school attendance in East Sussex have been revealed.
Last year East Sussex County Council launched a drive to highlight the detrimental effect any absence from school can have on a child’s education.
However its use of the phrase ‘Get a grip’ in material to parents caused a massive backlash, with a petition calling for the council to withdraw the campaign and apologise gaining more than 11,000 signatures.
The third phase of the campaign has been launched this week, with the council set to use slogans ‘Missed the bus’, ‘It’s my birthday’ and ‘Didn’t set alarm’.
New figures show 23 East Sussex parents were prosecuted in March for failing to secure regular attendance for their child, while one child was given a court order requiring them to improve their attendance.
Bob Standley, the council’s lead member for education and inclusion, said: “This campaign has been successful in raising awareness of the impact even a day’s absence can have on children’s education.
“The latest phase of the campaign references some of the common excuses used for non-attendance and lateness and highlights the fact that there’s simply no excuse for taking your child out of school without a valid reason.
“The majority of parents do ensure their children attend school regularly, but for too long now, our attendance rates in East Sussex have lagged behind other areas and this is not acceptable.
“As the latest prosecutions show, we’ll do whatever it takes to improve the situation and to give our young people the best possible chance of success in their future educational and professional careers.”
The 23 parents were ordered to pay a total of £2,020 in fines and £2,034.16 in court costs.
One parent, from Hastings, was handed a 12-month community order with a requirement to carry out 100 hours’ unpaid work and ordered to pay court costs of £1,431 and a £75 victim surcharge.
Meanwhile a child who failed to attend regularly despite the best efforts of their parents was given a one-year education supervision order, requiring them to work with the county council to improve their attendance.
Term-time absence must be approved by the headteacher. Any parent taking their child out of school without permission may receive a £60 penalty notice per parent per child, or court action if they fail to pay.
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