Family Lives responds to the rise in numbers of parents being taken to court over their child skipping school

With thousands facing court action in the last year

 Anastasia de Waal, Family Lives Chairperson said:

‘Families we speak to continue to be concerned about truancy and the associated risky behaviours their child may also be engaging in. 

Many of the parents we work with have experienced a breakdown in the parent–child relationship that leaves them unable to enforce boundaries. They have tried everything they can think of to persuade, cajole, bribe or force their children to attend school and feel that have nothing left to try. We believe that in many cases a supportive approach would be far more effective. Active family support and greater parent-school engagement can give parents new skills to get the parent-child relationship back on track, empower the parent to regain their position of authority, enabling them to enforce boundaries.   

Government should consider how to encourage all schools to offer family support as part of a core strategy for addressing truancy.  Mechanisms for sharing good practice between schools and clusters of schools should be considered.  Schools should give thought to their strategies for engaging parents. Strong parental engagement in education improves outcomes including attendance, but many parents encounter barriers to participating in their child’s education which may include their own poor experience of education. Schools must be aware of the potential barriers and consider strategies for engaging all parents.”

Parents concerned about truancy can visit  or call our helpline on 0808 800 2222.