Parents in East Sussex are being advised to ensure their children attend school every day as the new term begins.
East Sussex County Council has launched a campaign after it issued more than £27,000 in fines for non-attendance last year.
The authority made 181 prosecutions for non-attendance during 2016/17, which represents an increase of almost three times as many on the previous year.
Cllr Bob Standley, county council lead member for education and inclusion, said:
“There’s a perception among some parents that 95 per cent attendance is enough, but this is simply not the case.
“Missing even one day of school has an impact not just on your child’s education but on the rest of the class, as it means the teacher has to spend time helping them catch up – to the detriment of other pupils.
“We do appreciate the issues parents face around the cost of going away during the school holidays but children’s education has to come first.”
According to the authority, pupils who only achieve 95 per cent attendance will miss nine days of school and 45 lessons.
It said evidence shows there is a ‘direct correlation’ between good attendance and good exam performance, and one in three children who attend just 85 per cent of the time leave school with no GCSEs.
Cllr Standley added:
“Missing days of school reduces children’s chances of achieving success – from the youngest pupils starting school to older students preparing for higher education or employment.
“It affects your child’s chances of achieving the expected standard by the end of their primary school career and getting the good grades they need in secondary school to give them the best chance of going on to higher education or getting a good job.”
Parents who take their children out of school without permission can receive a £60 penalty notice per child, per parent.
Also, parents whose children continue to regularly miss school risk a court appearance and further penalties, including costs.
The county council is encouraging parents to book doctor and dentist appointments outside of school hours and ensure their children have regular bedtime routines without electronic devises.
They are also being urged to make sure their children know that attending school every day is not optional.
The campaign will run throughout the year on radio, bus stops and social media, featuring slogans such as ‘Don’t Be a Mug’ and ‘Get a Grip’.