Lost homework, late trains or breakfast disasters – we’ve all had those mornings where running late is inevitable. But you could be fined £60 if your child is late for school under new rules being introduced at thousands of schools across the country. And if you don’t cough up within 21 days, the fine could be doubled. That’s £120 just for being late.
And if that seems ridiculous and you refuse to pay, you could be threatened with prosecution and face imprisonment.
So far, up to 500 primary and secondary schools in Hampshire have signed up to the ‘late-gate patrol’ fine scheme. From September, parents will be fined if their children are late more than 10 times.
“We do not want to be prosecuting parents but we also want children to be in school and there comes a time when we have no further options,” says Anne Jones, Children’s Councillor in Southend.
But the way the fines work will be different depending on your council. In Wales, for example, parents will be fined for children who are late 10 times per half term – with only exceptional circumstances accepted as an excuse. Meanwhile, in Islington, North London, a fine will be given for children missing the register 12 times in 6 weeks.
The fines have already faced a backlash – saying they will affect children as well as parents. “For some families, the money they will be fined will be very important to them and it will be the children who lose out,” Margaret Morrissey, from the campaign group Parents Outloud told The Sunday Times.
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