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Schools in England introduce new fines for persistent late-arriving students

04/07/2017 Joanna

New fines are being introduced by a number of schools across England for the parents of students who routinely arrive late in the morning.

Councils and schools in the West Midlands, Hampshire and Essex are all moving ahead with the government-approved plans, which would complement the existing penalties for parents who take their children out of school for term-time holidays.

Warwickshire County Council, for example, has issued guidance stating that families may face penalties if children regularly arrive more than half an hour after registration, while Winter Gardens Academy in Essex will be levying fines of £60 if children consistently arrive after 09:00, rising to £120 if not paid within 21 days.

These measures have received an endorsement from the government, which supported the intent behind the penalties and stated that individual schools are within their rights to decide when to close their register and take any disciplinary action that aligns with their local authority's code of conduct.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "Pupils being punctual to lessons not only benefits their learning, but also helps them develop core skills which will stand them in good stead for future employment.

"It is right that schools monitor patterns of lateness and address it where it becomes a concern."

Current regulations give local authorities across the country the power to set their own criteria for the issuing of fines for all schools in their area. Generally, parents are only allowed to let their children miss school in cases of illness, or when advance permission has been granted by the headmaster.

Parents who do not agree to pay the fines they accrue from their children's lateness or non-attendance run the risk of facing prosecution, which can result in an even larger penalty or a custodial sentence.

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