The BBC has a report saying that parents of children in Wales who are regular school truants are to be fined up to £120 under new measures to tackle school absence rates which are to come into force in September. This is from the BBC…
Parents who fail to stop their child missing lessons will be issued a fixed penalty notice of £60, which will double if they fail to pay within 28 days.
Those who ignore the new regulations could end up in court.
Education Minister Leighton Andrews said there was a “general agreement” with his proposals following a public consultation.
Ministers previously resisted bringing in fixed penalties despite them being used in some parts of England since 2004.
But Mr Andrews has put tackling truancy high on a list of actions to improve educational attainment and announced last year his plan to start fining parents of persistent truants.
“The penalty notice system is an additional option that can be used as part of local authority intervention strategies for less entrenched attendance issues,” he said.
According to official figures, the average truancy rate for secondary schools in Wales in 2011/12 was 1.4%. Nine local education authorities (LEA) had higher rates, with the worst being Cardiff at 2.7%.
Although overall absence rates have been slowly decreasing each year since 2005/06, ministers say more needs to be done.
A Welsh government spokesman said although the regulations were coming into force in September, ministers did not expect the first wave of fines to be rolled out for a number of months.
“Local authorities will have to draw up their own code of conduct as well as put them out to consultation first,” he added.
“This could take some time and will vary between each local authority.”
But the National Union of Teachers (NUT) in Wales said it was disappointed the Welsh government had chosen to introduce fines for persistent truancy, adding that it could undermine some of the good work that was already happening.
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