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?