Wandsworth parents have racked up nearly £40,000 in potential fines over the past two years for their kids missing school.

The Government sets the amount of any fine at £120 per parent per child payable within 28 days and this is reduced by 50 per cent to £60 if paid in 21 days.

The penalty notice process - which is how Wandsworth Council issues these fines - is divided into two sections:

Unauthorised absence (UA)– where a pupil has attendance below 85 per cent with the majority of the absences recorded as unauthorised, during a monitoring period of at least 60 x ½ day sessions and up to 120 x ½ day sessions

For unauthorised leave of absence (LOA) in term time – this is where a pupil has five days or more of unauthorised leave of absence in any rolling four month period

Since the beginning of the 2017/18 school year, parents have been left with a potential bill of £34,020.

A spokesman for Wandsworth Council said that it is "vitally important" that children attend school each and every day during term time.

"If they don’t their education suffers and there is a knock on effect on other children as teachers have to then spend time helping those who have missed lessons catch up with their classmates," he added.

“The rules are very clear and have been laid out by Parliament and by successive Governments.

"We would prefer not to have to impose fines, and in most cases it is a last resort, but if parents persistently refuse or fail to ensure their children attend school then this is one of the sanctions they can face.

“Wandsworth has the joint lowest absence rate of all the inner London boroughs and a lower rate than is the case nationally.

"Maintaining such low rates helps ensure the well-being and life chances of the boroughs’ children and young people.”