NO-ONE said that being a parent was easy, and, sometimes, one of the hardest tasks is ensuring that your child attends school regularly.

Now, Bolton parents who persistently fail to send youngsters to school could end up in jail or face of £2,500.

Last year, 50 local parents were prosecuted, with a fine of £800 in one case. But a new get-tough policy promises more extreme penalties.

If this system does nothing more, it reinforces just how grave a matter is regular school attendance. As Bolton LEA's principal education social worker Ian Price says, parents sometimes do not take the whole thing seriously.

So, these new powers are basically aimed at parents who may simply not care enough about their child's education. And we believe that such stringent measures are entirely right if this is the case.

There are, however, individual parents who face a titanic struggle daily to get their child to go to school. They may have tried everything, from threats to enlisting the school's help, but with no results.

These may be parents at the end of their tether with thier offspring, who recognise that they need education, but, short of physically tying them to the school desk, just cannot persuade them to attend.

Each case must be considered on its merits, and we hope that this sensible line is taken by all concerned.

It will be interesting to see if this new, tougher policy ultimately does have a real effect on the numbers of truants.

We certainly hope so -- education is the key to every kind of development for youngsters, and the next generation needs all the facets it has to offer.