TRUANTING children have landed almost 200 parents in court in the last five years in Kirklees.

New figures show 199 parents were prosecuted for failing to ensure regular school attendance with 14 already facing magistrates this year.

Prosecutions are made under section 44 of 1996 Education Act.

Almost 100 parents have also been given Parenting Orders as part of the drive in schools and communities to toughen up on bad behaviour.

A total of 88 parenting orders have been made since 2005. There were 23 made that year, 12 in 2006, 22 in 2007, 20 in 2008, 10 last year and just one so far this year.

Schools minister Vernon Coaker has said parents must be accountable for their child’s behaviour.

He wants headteachers to make greater use of the orders by forcing parents to make their children behave or face fines of up to £1,000.

Parenting orders can last for three months and are intended to help improve a child’s behaviour. Parents or carers must attend parenting classes and may be ordered to meet other conditions like making sure their child stays at home at certain times, attends meetings, does not drink alcohol and goes to school on time.

Parenting orders can be given when a pupil has been excluded from school for serious bad behaviour, persistent truanting or when a child or young person has displayed anti-social or criminal behaviour, and when parenting is considered a factor in the child’s behaviour.

A Bill going through Parliament will require all parents to sign up to behaviour contracts, known as Home School Agreements, once a child is accepted into a school. Schools can apply to court for a Parenting Order if a child continually misbehaves. Many schools already have these contracts in place.

Karen Worrall, assistant director of the council’s Children and Young People’s Service said: “Our service works actively with schools, pupils and families to improve the school attendance of children and young people.

“We provide a lot of support to pupils and families to help overcome any difficulties which may be a barrier to school attendance. Sometimes this help includes advice and guidance to parents.”