‘Warnings mean nothing without action’

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They can’t say they haven’t been warned.

Today, we report that three parents are to become the first in Edinburgh to face court action for failing to ensure their children regularly attend school.

News of such extreme action is not welcome but it is only right that a hardline approach is taken against the worst offenders.

Indeed, many will be surprised that it has not happened before.

We have to be careful not to take this out of proportion. Figures show the number of children playing truant in Edinburgh is actually on the decrease and fewer are finding themselves being sent to the Children’s Reporter for further action.

That shows the work to support both children and families is working in most cases without the need to involve the courts.

Court action therefore has to be reserved for the very worst cases, where every other measure has been tried and exhausted.

And at the heart of this must remain the aim of ensuring the child is given the best education possible rather than just punishing the 
parents.

A get-tough policy must go hand-in-hand with a strategy for ensuring it is not necessary again.

For many, the mere suggestion of legal action would have been enough to solve the problem before it got to this stage.

For others, the repeated warnings would have been meaningless without the knowledge that it would ultimately be carried out.

Making an example of even one family will leave others in no doubt that prosecution is no longer an empty threat, as those found guilty can expect to face a fine of up to £1000 or imprisonment of up to one month.

As we have said before, anyone found guilty needs to be taught a lesson.

But, more importantly, so do their children.

Stevenson’s legacy

There are snippets of little-known history wherever you turn in Edinburgh – even in a tired-looking row of houses.

Famed civil engineer Robert 
Stevenson is already well known, if a bit overshadowed by his literary grandson.

But how many people knew he used to live and operate out of 
1 Baxter’s Place?

There are now calls for a permanent memorial as part of plans to 
develop a new hotel on the site.

Why not go further?

The Glasshouse is up the road, surely the new hotel has to be named The Lighthouse?