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Should school truancy fines be increased or scrapped? Join The Independent Debate

Steeper penalties are set to come in - but will they fix widespread truancy issues, or will they simply punish parents who are already trying their best to get their children to school?

Tuesday 05 March 2024 08:51 GMT
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The controversial move follows a drop in attendance
The controversial move follows a drop in attendance (PA Archive)

Parents have been warned of new rules for taking their children out of school, with higher fines set to be introduced for those who don’t seek permission.

The controversial move follows a drop in attendance after the pandemic and a rise in homeschooling.

School absence fines currently start at £60, rising to £120 if they are not paid within 21 days. But the DfE has said fines will now start at £80, rising to £160.

Data reveals that nearly 90% of fines were for unauthorised holidays, often booked outside school terms for financial reasons.

While Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has emphasised the importance of attendance, critics argue that fines may not be the most effective tool. They call for targeted resources to address the root causes of poor attendance, including support for vulnerable families and children’s mental health.

We want to know if you think these steeper penalties will fix widespread truancy issues, or will they simply punish parents who are already trying their best to get their children to school?

And even if you don’t struggle the peel your child from their bed in the morning, with the cost of going away rocketing during school holidays, many parents are understandably tempted to take their children abroad in term time to save pennies and allow their family to experience the wonders of travel.

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