COUNCIL chiefs have issued a warning to parents whose children receive home tuition about the consequences of failing to educate their youngsters properly.

Last week, a Darlington couple were fined £200 after the local education authority brought legal action against them for breaching an order instructing them to send their daughter to school.

Magistrates in Bishop Auckland also ordered the couple to pay £150 court costs, in the first case of its kind to be brought by Darlington Borough Council.

Yesterday, officials warned that similar action would be taken against any parents who failed to give their children a suitable education outside school.

Parents can choose to teach their children at home, but the council must be satisfied that the youngsters are receiving a good enough education.

Children receiving home tuition are monitored regularly by the school effectiveness service and by education welfare officers.

If it is deemed that the tuition is not suitable, parents are given the opportunity to make improvements.

If no improvement is made, parents are served with a school attendance order.

The order means that parents must enrol their child at a school or prove that their child is receiving a suitable education outside the school environment.