CREDIT: This story was first seen in The Telegraph
Ministers have backed the introduction of fines for parents whose children are repeatedly late for school, The Telegraph reports.
Councils and schools in the West Midlands, Hampshire and Essex, have all extended the £60 fixed penalties they issue for pupils who go on holiday during term time, to cases of consistent lateness.
Families have been told they could be prosecuted if they fail to pay the penalty after 28 days.
On Sunday, July 2, the government said it was right that schools monitored pupils lateness and “address it” where it becomes a concern.
Warwickshire county council has issued guidance to inform parents it will fine families whose children who repeatedly arrive more than 30 minutes after the register is taken.
Winter Gardens Academy in Essex has also told parents they can be could be hit with £60 fines, which will double if not paid within 21 days.
Announcing the measure in January, Catherine Stalham, the head of the Academy, defended her policy in the face of staunch opposition from local families who said the move was “ridiculous”.
She said the policy, which came into force on April 1, was designed to ensure that pupils “get the best possible education”.
“This system is not unique to our school and has been in place for some time,” she said.
“Fixed penalty notices are only ever a last resort and we have never had to pursue such action for lateness alone.”
All local authorities across the country have the power to set the criteria for issuing fines for all schools in their area, including academies and Free Schools.
According to the guidelines, parents can only allow a child to miss school if they are ill, or if they have received advanced permission from the school.
Getting permission from the school requires making an application to the head teacher in advance, who will decide if a request will be granted.
A DfE spokesperson said: “Pupils being punctual to lessons not only benefits their learning but also helps them develop core skills which will stand them in good stead for future employment.
“It is right that schools monitor patterns of lateness and address it where it becomes a concern.
“It is a matter for individual schools to decide when to close their register and take action as needed, provided it is in line with the local authority’s code of conduct.”