£1000 worth of truancy fines handed out

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court

WIGAN parents were forced to fork out hundreds of pounds of fines after falling foul of a crackdown on those allowing youngsters to skip school regularly.

The three were handed more than a combined £1,000 worth of charges yesterday at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court for failing to ensure their truant children attended school frequently.

Mothers Carla Balmer, Gemma Cartwright and Emma Harris each failed to appear at court for sentencing after their children took off 61 days of term time between them.

Wigan Council prosecutor Gary Crawford told magistrates that Cartwright, of New Street, Platt Bridge, allowed her daughter to miss 34 days of term time at Ashton’s St Edmund Arrowsmith High between January 12 and May 11 this year. Overall, for the whole academic year, the child had an 82 per cent attendance record.

Cartwright was ordered to pay a £300 fine, £150 court charge, £100 court costs and £30 victim surcharge.

Harris, of Keble Grove, Leigh, was given a £100 fine, £150 charge, £100 court costs and £20 victim surcharge after her daughter failed to attend Westleigh Methodist Primary for 15 of the 132 term days since January 12 and May 11.

And Balmer, of Shackerley Road, Tyldesley, was ordered to pay a £100 fine, with a £150 charge, £100 costs and £20 victim surcharge after her son missed 12 days of term time. Each were ordered to pay the fines within 28 days. Mr Crawford said a warning letter was sent to each of the defendants in April before a £60 fixed penalty notice was issued in May. As this was ignored, the fine was doubled before being brought to court.

Another parent’s case, Patrick Stokes, has been adjourned until September 1 due to different laws surrounding travelling groups.

At the beginning of the week, the Wigan Evening Post revealed that the borough’s schools handed out 33 fines to parents taking their children on holiday during term time in 2013/14 compared to just five given the previous year.