Parents of truants to have fines deducted from benefits

The BBC is reporting plans to be announced today by David Cameron that parents in England who refuse to pay a penalty after their children truant will have their child benefit docked.

Currently 40% of those fined fail to pay and many avoid court because councils do not pursue legal action.

A civil penalty of up to £120 will now be claimed back through child benefit if the fine is not paid after 28 days. 

But the NASUWT teaching union said fines could punish children, rather than adults who care for them.

The existing system sees non-payment of the £60 civil penalty in England being doubled to £120 after 21 days and subject to prosecution after 28 days.

Under the new regulations, councils will be obliged to pursue payment from those who do not receive child benefit, taking parents to court if necessary. 

David Cameron will argue that the system must be changed because truancy is harmful to children’s chances in life, and he will say that docking child benefit will speed up the process.

He is set to say: “We are determined to tackle the harm truancy does to a child’s chances in life. 

“There is nothing responsible about allowing your child to go without an education. So for parents who let their child play truant and refuse to pay truancy penalties, we will deduct it from their child benefit.”

The Press Association says it obtained figures earlier this year which showed 16,430 people in England were prosecuted last year for failing to ensure that a child went to school.

About three-quarters – 12,479 – of these were found guilty, and courts issued 9,214 parents with fines worth an average of £172…

Meanwhile, the prime minister will also announce a new right for parents in England to request that schools provide breakfast and after-school clubs or holiday care.

Schools will not be obliged to provide these when asked, but will have to publish reasons why they do not respond to such requests from parents or childcare providers. 

This will apply to all state-maintained primary schools, as well as new academies and free schools…

More at: Parents of truants to have benefits docked

 

Is this further crackdown on truancy a welcome move from the government? 

What do you feel, specifically, about the idea of deducting fines from benefits for those affected?

And what about the right for parents to request breakfast or after-school clubs and holiday care?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…

 

Should truancy fines be deducted from benefits for parents who don’t pay?

 

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Categories: Local authorities, Parenting and Policy.

Comments

  1. BridgetBurke2

    SchoolsImprove he can try to get stroppy teen out of bed, dressed and on the bus! Supporting parents is the answer

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove The most worrying bit for schools is tacked on the end: providing free before & after school plus holiday clubs. With what?

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Truancy a major issue but then perhaps a curriculum that many of those who truant can’t access is the issue…

  4. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove How are schls supposed to provide free before & after schl plus holiday clubs? They can barely afford normal schl hours

  5. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Every piece of this announcement smacks of typical, unenforceable party conference guff that appears annually

  6. lennyvalentino

    SchoolsImprove Suspect exclusion rates are a much bigger issue than truancy in terms of life chances. Fines for truancy a distraction.

  7. Nairb1

    Good plan. Poor family on benefits, truancy inclined teenager, fine the family so they have even less money to spend, possibly on other children. Typical Tory, playing to the gallery.

  8. PrincesBold

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Childcare providers are on the verge of telling the govt to stick their funding, £3.77 an hour is not enough.

  9. Not all parents of truants are the mythical feckless scroungers depicted by the media.  Some are desperate parents (often single mothers) struggling to cope with difficult  teenagers.  They need support not punishment.

  10. Dai_James1942

    SchoolsImprove Since 1870 attendance poorly enforced, showing little support for the reality, as opposed to the appearance, of education.

  11. thiskidsthinkin

    Good luck enforcing that! Punishing entire families by taking money off them because a child isn’t attending school will only make it worse. Would be better off finding a different way to educate children who find school boring.

  12. BehaviourA

    How will the courts determine that it is the parents ‘fault’ for deciding that their children should not attend school?

  13. BehaviourA

    lennyvalentino SchoolsImprove Agree – what about all those yr 10/ 11s who are ‘disappeared’/ left to their own devices as schools have given up on them. Or the children ‘sent home’ because schools cant provide for them appropriately full time?
    Not blaming individual schools – this govt & previous coalition have forced cuts to support services who tried to tackle root causes and abandoned National Behaviour and Attendance strategy which was having some success.

  14. Nairb1

    Parental responsibility, in law, to ensure that their children have an appropriate education ‘in school or otherwise’ so it’s not really a major legal dilemma.

  15. Nairb1

    Parental responsibility, in law, to ensure that their children have an appropriate education ‘in school or otherwise’ so it’s not really a major legal dilemma.

  16. BehaviourA

    As a teacher, parent and former LA officer, I’m more aware than many of the law. But gets complicated when schools not offering an appropriate education and child/ YP responds with school refusal. How is fining the parents going to help in this situation?

  17. BehaviourA

    As a teacher, parent and former LA officer, I’m more aware than many of the law. But gets complicated when schools not offering an appropriate education and child/ YP responds with school refusal. How is fining the parents going to help in this situation?

  18. Nairb1

    It’s not, but as a teacher, headteacher and principal school adviser I’m well aware that school refusal due to inappropriate education is unlikely to result in prosecution for truancy unless the parent /YP is unreasonable in their expectations.

  19. pupilaspire

    SchoolsImprove problem focused as always – I wonder if anyone is asking these young people why they are truanting

  20. btsback

    pupilaspire SchoolsImprove truanting is different from parents condoning absence. There should be a distinction and fine poor parenting.

  21. neilayates

    SchoolsImprove The future success of education system depends on school/parents partnership.This can’t be achieved against slashed funding

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