The case of a father charged with failing to ensure his son’s regular attendance at school has been withdrawn by Essex County Council.

Ricky Thorpe, of Centre Drive, Epping, was due to appear before Chelmsford magistrates yesterday charged with failing to ensure his son attended the school regularly.

His son’s attendance at St John's CofE School in Bury Lane, Epping, is said to have fallen below 85 per cent, without adequate justification or school authorisation, which is the benchmark for action by the county council.

The Guardian is awaiting an explanation from the council as to why the case was dropped.

St John's headteacher, George Yerosimou, said: “We never want to see cases end up in court and we offer as much help and support to pupils and families as we can in school.

“National and local government are pushing for sanctions to be used in order to deter parents from taking their children out of school for unauthorised holidays.”

Epping St John’s has an average attendance of around 94 per cent, which is in line with the national average.

Mr Yersoimou added: “When there are exceptional circumstances such as illness or bereavement and we always take that into consideration.”