INCREASING numbers of parents are being taken to court for failing to ensure their children go to school.

In Dorset attendance has been as low as 25 per cent, prompting local authorities to put their parents before magistrates.

In Bournemouth 30 parents have already been prosecuted this year compared with 52 last year and just five the year before.

Dorset County Council has taken six cases to court this year and four people have been prosecuted in Poole.

Authorities have the option to issue fines if they believe a child’s attendance is not good enough.

If parents fail to pay or offend again, there is the option to take them to court.

A spokesman for Dorset County Council said attendance rates of those taken to court were 25 per cent, 44 per cent, 51 per cent, 52 per cent, 72 per cent and 78 per cent.

In Poole 43 people have been fined, 21 for poor attendance and 22 due to unauthorised holidays.

Offenders who appear in court cannot be identified for legal reasons but several people have appeared in recent weeks. A woman from Winton in Bournemouth was fined a total of £80 and ordered to pay costs of £337.92 and a victim surcharge of £30 after it was proved in her absence that her two sons, aged eight and 10, had failed to attend school regularly.

A couple from Winton, in their 30s, appeared on the same day to face charges relating to four children between the ages of six and 15.

They were fined a total of £200 each and ordered to pay costs of more than £400.

The same court also saw a 25-year-old Christchurch woman and a 31-year-old woman from Kinson fined and ordered to pay costs.

Earlier this year the Supreme Court ruled against Isle of Wight dad Jon Platt who claimed he should not have been penalised for taking his daughter to Florida in term time because her attendance was over 90 per cent.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “Our position remains that children should not be taken out of school without good reason. That is why we have tightened the rules and are supporting schools and local authorities to use their powers to tackle unauthorised absence.”