Fining parents for their children’s unauthorised absence from school has had little effect overall - a Welsh Government commissioned review has found - although Pembrokeshire appears to buck that trend.

In Pembrokeshire no fixed penalty notices were issued in 2014/15 but this jumped to 32 in 2015/16 with 25 already issued for 2016/17 at the time the report was written.

The reported expected figure for 2016/17 was 37, an increase of five on the previous year, but that then jumped significantly.

A Pembrokeshire County Council spokesman said: “In the event, 90 PNs were issued in the County for the full 2016/17 academic year.”

Fines of £60, which double if not paid within 28 days, were introduced in Wales in 2013.

The recent report found the biggest decline in overall absence was in the two years before the Welsh Government brought in the fines.

Teachers and staff of local authorities and local education consortiums were surveyed as part of the review.

“Our view is that the use of PNs, as part of an overall strategy for promoting school attendance, has had a positive impact in Pembrokeshire. 

"Our reasons for saying this are Pembrokeshire was the most improved council area in Wales for secondary school attendance in 2016/17.

“The percentage of persistent absenteeism (which is defined as children missing 20% or more of their education over a year) has reduced significantly in Pembrokeshire’s primary and secondary schools over the last 3-4 years, and persistent absenteeism here reduced further in 2016/17, compared to a slight increase nationally.

“Our overall approach is to promote good school attendance through emphasising its importance, helping our schools to develop and improve so that they are places every child wants to be, and supporting parents to overcome any barriers their child’s regular attendance at school,” added a council spokesman.

One theme identified by the report was that many felt the level of the fine was too low to encourage behaviour change.

That was particulary true in relation to holidays in term time as some parents simply found a £60 fine insignificant compared to the total cost of booking a trip abroad during school holidays.

Inconsistencies across the regions were also identified and the report suggests strengthening the guidance or establishing a single national policy for Wales.