Children miss at least 35 of 48 school days

FAILURE by several students to attend school has forced the NSW Department of Education to take court action against their parents.

Four people were listed in Orange Local Court on Monday charged with failing to enrol a compulsory school-aged student, whether it be a government or non-government school, or home schooling. 

The charge also includes failure to ensure a child attends.  

Two parents, Stephanie and Terrence Hutchison of Kurim Avenue, were each fined $660 for three counts of the offence, one for each of their three children, plus court costs of $250.

During the 48 days of term two, court documents said the eldest missed 42 full days and four partial days and the middle child missed 35 full days and six partial days at a public high school, while the youngest missed 35 full days and 13 partial days at public primary school. 

Neither of the Hutchisons were in court to face the charges but magistrate David Day proceeded given they both received their court notices in person. 

“That becomes very expensive truancy,” Mr Day said. 

Court documents revealed concerns were raised in 2016.

The children were referred to the home school liaison program, attempts were made to meet with the parents and attendance improvement plans were developed.

When efforts failed, the student welfare directorate sought a compulsory schooling order through children’s court proceedings, but attendance did not improve.

Two other parents facing charges on Monday had their cases adjourned. 

A department spokesman said the vast majority of parents ensured their children had strong attendance.

“But in the small number of cases where parents do not meet their obligations, the government schools and the department seek to collaborate with them to improve,” he said.

“If parents remain unsupportive, matters can be subject to compulsory conferencing and court action.”

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