Truancy falls but fines rise

New figures from the DfE show that record numbers of parents are being fined for allowing their children to miss lessons, though truancy is decreasing.

Official truancy figures from the DfE showed that the number of school days being lost to absence fell from 57 million to 49.3 million since truancy fines were increased three years ago, the Telegraph reports. The number of pupils who were ‘persistently absent’, missing more than 15% of school time, also fell by almost a third from just over 433,000 to 300,895 in the same period.

Despite this, the number of parents being fined for allowing their children to miss lessons rose by more than a quarter last year, with 52,370 penalty notices issued compared to 41,224 previously. Prosecutions for non-payment of the £60 fine increased by almost a quarter, with 8,000 cases being taken to court last year.

More parents are likely to be fined next year after headteachers were told to stop allowing parents to take their children out of school in term time; previously they were allowed to grant pupils 10 days leave for family holidays in ‘special circumstances’.   The change in the law will mean that parents have no choice but to travel during school holidays – when prices soar – or risk a fine for removing their children from school without permission.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said there was no excuse for missing school. “Today’s figures show we are making progress, with 130,000 fewer pupils regularly missing school under this government. Alongside our measures to give teachers powers to search pupils and impose same-day detentions, this demonstrates our determination to get tough on bad behaviour.”

Do you agree with parents being fined for letting their children miss school? Do you have any sympathy for their attempts to avoid paying through the nose for travelling during holiday peak times?

6 thoughts on “Truancy falls but fines rise

  1. Fining parents for their kids missing school is an abominable arrogance ! There could many various reasons why pupils have to miss lessons ! In any event , the children belong to the parents NOT the State ! Negligent parents can be dealt with by the authorities and social services , NOT FINED !!
    Everything is MONEY with these Tory fops ! Gove the Monetarist !

  2. I couldn’t agree with you more Elias! When I was at school in the 60s and 70s we always went on holiday in June when it wasn’t crowded, the weather is better and accommodation cheaper. Obviously this didn’t happen as we got older and when were preparing for public exams. I passed O levels, A levels and a degree so clearly it did not harm my education. Let parents and Head Teachers make common sense decisions!

  3. I disagree. I don’t think a fine is a bad idea. I used to live abroad and if my child was off school for any reason other than an illness for which hi could produce a Dr. note( at my cost as no NHS) I would have to pay the school for my child’s lost day. Typically around €50 a day. I see kids out of school to go shopping with their parents, out of school to save money on a holiday, and expect the school to pick up the pieces when the child returns and is behind. It’s not so bad in primary school but even 6 is an important year. And parents who take children on holiday in year 10 and 11 should be fined even more than £60.

  4. I agree with both of you, Elias and Carol, except that I’d say that children belong to themselves. If they really, really enjoyed their educational experiences at school -which is what would give them the best chance of learning – they’d refuse to go on holiday during term time! And they certainly wouldn’t be truanting. What is needed instead of fines, is for teachers to be respected by the government, with rates of pay which recognise the key role we play in our country’s future, a realistic work load which allows time to build quality supportive relationships with our pupils, and adequate training focussed on empowering today’s pupils (as opposed to those of the 1940’s) to make the most out of their educational experiences. GCSEs are easy if you’re interested, and irrelevant if you’re not. Generating the interest will put fines and detentions where they belong: in the dustbin of history; but teachers need the respect and support of government to achieve this.

  5. The trips across the world to see their grandparents, that each of my children took once during their time at Primary school would have been a financial impossibility during school holidays. Years later they vividly remember and treasure their trip, it’s value and benefit to their understanding of themselves and their heritage was understood at the time by their school and permission granted. I presume this would no longer be allowed.

  6. I think children should stay in School as it is important that they get the education they need. Parent’s on the other hand should not be fined as if you have parent’s who do not work (for a number of reason’s) this could be a struggle. As a working Mother with three children I know it can be difficult at times to take the children on hoilday, so when the prices are soaring high during holiday times why aren’t the holiday’s being put on special offer’s for families??? This would then enable parents not to have to take their children out of School. Like Elias said everthing is MONEY and if you do not adhere and conform to society’s way there is always a price to pay.

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