The Independent is reporting that a school in Essex is to force parents to pay for their children’s GCSE exams if pupils miss too many classes.
Colchester Academy Principal, Fiona Pierson, brought in the initiative in an attempt to stop truancy at the school.
If a pupil is absent for more than 10 per cent the timetable for one subject – equivalent to 20 lessons in a year – their parents will be asked to pay £65 for each exam in that subject.
“Since sending this letter out we have seen an improvement in Year 11 attendance of 1.1 per cent,” she said.
“In addition, the number of students who have an attendance figure below 90 per cent has decreased by over half.
“Both of these improvements will have a significant impact on the successes these young people will experience in the future and that is my aim.”
Writing to parents, Ms Pierson explained she was not prepared to enter students for exams – a cost for schools – if they have not shown enough commitment to their learning.
However she also noted that “exceptional circumstances where there may be medical evidence to explain the level of absence” would make parents exempt of penalties.
Not sure how significant a change of 1.1% is, but it is an interesting approach. I will be keen to hear how this affects the students’ grades. ~ Sophie
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