A number of parents in East Sussex have now been handed fines and costs totaling over £17,000 as part of a county council campaign to crackdown on school attendance.

New council figures have shown the ‘Get A Grip’ campaign has resulted in 46 parents being prosecuted in October and November for failing to ensure their child regularly attends school.

The council said in addition to the fines, 11 parents have been given conditional discharges of between three and 18 months.

Councillors recently rejected an amendment to halt the campaign, despite opposition including a petition with around 11,000 signatures.

Councillor Bob Standley said:

“We’re very aware that this campaign has not been welcomed by everyone, but this is an issue too important to ignore.

“The more days of school a child misses, the less likely they are to achieve the grades they need to be successful in their future academic and professional careers.

“The campaign is not aimed at children with genuine medical conditions but at the minority of parents who fail to ensure their child regularly attends school without good reason.

“We won’t hesitate to use every option open to us – including court action if neccessary – to tackle this issue and to ensure our children get the best possible start in life.”

The court action resulted in parents being issued with fines of over £8,000 and court costs of over £9,000.

The council said absence in term time can only and must be approved by the head teacher, and anyone taking their child out of school without permission may receive a £60 penalty notice.