Truancy Fines

What are your views regarding truancy fines for non attendance? Truancy is a word that conjures up images of kids staying up late, drinking and playing on computer games. Do parents really ignore that or do they try to do something about it?  Sometimes, of course, truancy occurs because of serious, motivated reasons. So, how much of this is the parent’s responsibility? You can take the horse to water, but you can’t make it drink! You could take the child to school, and if of a certain age, he or she may not stay there the whole day. Truancy often involves children leaving school without permission.

Does the parent pay for this? Apparently if they don’t, it gets taken out of the child’s benefit money. The papers are full of debates on this topic. Here it is outlined:

David Cameron will announce shortly a new policy that parents who refuse to pay truancy fines when their children are missing school will end up having their child benefit docked. The Prime Minister has said that he is determined to tackle the harm that truancy does to a child’s chances in life. He is also due to announce new powers for parents to be able to demand childcare at their child’s school. Giving the parents’ rights to demand breakfast clubs, after school clubs and holiday care, in an attempt to accommodate those parents who want to work longer hours.

Childcare providers including childminders will also be able to request the use of school sites out of hours to host their services. The “right to request” policy means that schools must provide childcare themselves if asked to by groups or parents.

This requirement will apply to all maintained primary schools and all new academies and free schools. Trials of the extended hours of free supervision for pre-school children will begin in selected areas in September 2016 then the scheme will be extended the year after. This scheme is set to make sure children get the best start in life.

Up until now parents of children who have been truanting school have been fined £60 which rises to £120 if they had not paid the charge within 21 days, however there has been a poor rate of compliance with these rules since introduced in 2012. In the first year, 60 per cent of parents paid the fine straight away, but 10,000 failed to do so which is a significant amount. 7,800 of these parents were taken to court and on average the fines were £165. However the new measures will mean that families who refuse to pay these truancy fines and are also in receipt of child benefit will automatically have their benefit docked after 28 days to cover the outstanding fine.

This method has been thought to relieve the time and effort spent by local authorities trying to retrieve these payments through the courts. However councils will still have to use the courts to extract fines from families who do not receive child benefit.

Absence from classes and truancy have been shown to have a damaging impact on children’s school performances. Government statistics show that out of the  amount of  pupils with no absence at Key Stage 3, 44 per cent of them achieve the English baccalaureate in time.

That figure falls to 32% among pupils who have missed 14 days of class during their GCSE course and drops to 16.4 per cent for those who miss up to 28 days.

Until Next time,