Gwent parents to face £60 truancy fines

Gwent parents to face £60 truancy fines

Gwent parents to face £60 truancy fines

First published in Gwent news
Last updated

COUNCIL chiefs yesterday agreed to issue “punitive” fines to families of children who miss school through unauthorised absences.

The parents of students who play truant or persistently turn up late at school will receive £60 fines, as will families who take their children on holiday during term time.

The new charges will rise to £120 if unpaid after four weeks and parents who refuse to pay up could end up in court.

Blaenau Gwent council launched a holiday fine policy last September but stressed none had been issued so far.

Other local authorities like Torfaen and Monmouthshire will introduce the non attendance fines this autumn. Torfaen agreed a code of conduct developed by the five Gwent authorities for implementation from the beginning of the 2014/15 academic year at an extraordinary cabinet meeting yesterday.

A code of conduct is required by Welsh Government regulations. Councils will not make any money out of the policy but it has sparked a flurry of online comments from parents, some of whom indicated they may pay the penalties and take their children on holiday during term time. One said: “As a parent I will happily pay a £60 fine if it means saving £500 by going on holiday during term time.”

Another parent said: “If you make sure your children are punctual and in all the time for lessons you should be allowed to take them for, say a maximum of 14 school days a year without fines.”

Education bosses will consider issuing fines when students lose at least 10 sessions, or five school days, due to unauthorised absence.

Only one fine will be issued over the course of an academic year under the Gwent policy approved by Torfaen council.

Parents will be able to complain to the Education Welfare Service or opt to face proceedings in magistrates’ courts. Torfaen interim head of education services, Dermot McChrystal, said yesterday the council did not authorise holidays during term time, but Cllr David Yeowell, the executive member for children and young people, stressed the fines would be issued “as a last resort”. He said: “Attendance in school is essential to improve children’s educational prospects and it reduces the risk of absence leading to criminal or anti-social behaviour.

“Fines are punitive by nature and this will cause financial difficulty for some, but parents can avoid that difficulty by working with the council to address issues early and by ensuring their children attend school regularly.”

Torfaen council said that failure to introduce the fines would be a breach of the Education (Penalty Notices) (Wales) Regulations 2013. LEAs will only be able to use money raised from fines to cover administration costs and the balance will be passed on to Welsh Government.

Comments (19)

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12:29pm Wed 16 Jul 14

landyman3030 says...

Only one fine will be issued per academic year. How is that a deterrent for repeat offenders? The parents of the habitual johnny come late will just moan, pay once and carry on regardless for the rest of the year. Ditto the parents of the persistent truant. Ditto the regular holiday taker who takes the children out often for breaks. The ONLY people this will hurt are the majority of responsible parents whose only crime is to take their children out of school for one holiday. If it is so important for the children not to miss out on a weeks education why are my 3 children sat twiddling their thumbs playing games and watching films all of this week with an early finish on Friday? If the curriculum has finished early maybe the WAG and the LEA need to concentrate on getting the timetable right. Include this week with the three teaching days my children have had off this year and we've almost got a fortnight off. That would do the majority of parents. Put the teacher training into the first week of the school holidays instead of term time. Purely cash gathering by the WAG misusing a Act that was introduced in 2003 to deal with truancy and anti social behaviour.
Only one fine will be issued per academic year. How is that a deterrent for repeat offenders? The parents of the habitual johnny come late will just moan, pay once and carry on regardless for the rest of the year. Ditto the parents of the persistent truant. Ditto the regular holiday taker who takes the children out often for breaks. The ONLY people this will hurt are the majority of responsible parents whose only crime is to take their children out of school for one holiday. If it is so important for the children not to miss out on a weeks education why are my 3 children sat twiddling their thumbs playing games and watching films all of this week with an early finish on Friday? If the curriculum has finished early maybe the WAG and the LEA need to concentrate on getting the timetable right. Include this week with the three teaching days my children have had off this year and we've almost got a fortnight off. That would do the majority of parents. Put the teacher training into the first week of the school holidays instead of term time. Purely cash gathering by the WAG misusing a Act that was introduced in 2003 to deal with truancy and anti social behaviour. landyman3030
  • Score: 24

12:44pm Wed 16 Jul 14

Dave on his Soapbox says...

.... as usual parent are being made the scape goat for the failings of the education system....moreoverly the politians who keep on changing policy and targets...which have failed to deliver.....

Then when the stats aren't good enough...some expert is rolled in to find out / state it's because too many children are missing lessons.....

ergo...it's the parents fault....lets punish the parents.....

We all have a choice at the next general or local election....to get rid of the encumant lot who care more about whether stats prove what they are doing is right....than actually listening to the people who use and pay for everthing they do....supposedly on our behalf.....

What we need is an Electorate First party....and not the clones we have now...promising this and that.....with spine and smoke and mirrors....and delivering little that is then not cut by 'efficiency savings'
.... as usual parent are being made the scape goat for the failings of the education system....moreoverly the politians who keep on changing policy and targets...which have failed to deliver..... Then when the stats aren't good enough...some expert is rolled in to find out / state it's because too many children are missing lessons..... ergo...it's the parents fault....lets punish the parents..... We all have a choice at the next general or local election....to get rid of the encumant lot who care more about whether stats prove what they are doing is right....than actually listening to the people who use and pay for everthing they do....supposedly on our behalf..... What we need is an Electorate First party....and not the clones we have now...promising this and that.....with spine and smoke and mirrors....and delivering little that is then not cut by 'efficiency savings' Dave on his Soapbox
  • Score: 3

1:14pm Wed 16 Jul 14

ivor27 says...

This looks like one rule for one and one for another. The teacher staff can go on strike and parents have to work around that .... but that's ok. When parents take children out of school for holidays because the prices during term time are drastically cheaper, they will get fined.

Perhaps somebody can explain how this works??
This looks like one rule for one and one for another. The teacher staff can go on strike and parents have to work around that .... but that's ok. When parents take children out of school for holidays because the prices during term time are drastically cheaper, they will get fined. Perhaps somebody can explain how this works?? ivor27
  • Score: 12

1:34pm Wed 16 Jul 14

-trigg- says...

You were nearly correct, Landyman. In actuality the 'parents' of repeat offenders will have the fine added to the long list of other fines being repaid from their benefits at £5 per week and will not notice any change and will therefore carry on as normal.

Since the fines only come into effect after 5 days unauthorised absence, perhaps a parent could book their holiday to coincide with Teacher Training. This would allow them to take a 10 day break whilst only removing little johnny from school for 4 days and therefore avoiding any fines.

I am also intrigued by the phrase 'Unauthorised absence'. Who is the absence authorised by? What criterion are used to assess absences and what legal basis does this authorisation (or lack thereof) have?
You were nearly correct, Landyman. In actuality the 'parents' of repeat offenders will have the fine added to the long list of other fines being repaid from their benefits at £5 per week and will not notice any change and will therefore carry on as normal. Since the fines only come into effect after 5 days unauthorised absence, perhaps a parent could book their holiday to coincide with Teacher Training. This would allow them to take a 10 day break whilst only removing little johnny from school for 4 days and therefore avoiding any fines. I am also intrigued by the phrase 'Unauthorised absence'. Who is the absence authorised by? What criterion are used to assess absences and what legal basis does this authorisation (or lack thereof) have? -trigg-
  • Score: 1

1:41pm Wed 16 Jul 14

b3talover says...

ivor27 wrote:
This looks like one rule for one and one for another. The teacher staff can go on strike and parents have to work around that .... but that's ok. When parents take children out of school for holidays because the prices during term time are drastically cheaper, they will get fined.

Perhaps somebody can explain how this works??
Why not home school your children? You can take them on holiday whenever you want then. The law says you have to provide your children with an education, it doesn't say you have to send them to school.
[quote][p][bold]ivor27[/bold] wrote: This looks like one rule for one and one for another. The teacher staff can go on strike and parents have to work around that .... but that's ok. When parents take children out of school for holidays because the prices during term time are drastically cheaper, they will get fined. Perhaps somebody can explain how this works??[/p][/quote]Why not home school your children? You can take them on holiday whenever you want then. The law says you have to provide your children with an education, it doesn't say you have to send them to school. b3talover
  • Score: 6

1:53pm Wed 16 Jul 14

b3talover says...

-trigg- wrote:
You were nearly correct, Landyman. In actuality the 'parents' of repeat offenders will have the fine added to the long list of other fines being repaid from their benefits at £5 per week and will not notice any change and will therefore carry on as normal.

Since the fines only come into effect after 5 days unauthorised absence, perhaps a parent could book their holiday to coincide with Teacher Training. This would allow them to take a 10 day break whilst only removing little johnny from school for 4 days and therefore avoiding any fines.

I am also intrigued by the phrase 'Unauthorised absence'. Who is the absence authorised by? What criterion are used to assess absences and what legal basis does this authorisation (or lack thereof) have?
*Yawn* More "Benefits Britain" vitriol...
[quote][p][bold]-trigg-[/bold] wrote: You were nearly correct, Landyman. In actuality the 'parents' of repeat offenders will have the fine added to the long list of other fines being repaid from their benefits at £5 per week and will not notice any change and will therefore carry on as normal. Since the fines only come into effect after 5 days unauthorised absence, perhaps a parent could book their holiday to coincide with Teacher Training. This would allow them to take a 10 day break whilst only removing little johnny from school for 4 days and therefore avoiding any fines. I am also intrigued by the phrase 'Unauthorised absence'. Who is the absence authorised by? What criterion are used to assess absences and what legal basis does this authorisation (or lack thereof) have?[/p][/quote]*Yawn* More "Benefits Britain" vitriol... b3talover
  • Score: -7

1:59pm Wed 16 Jul 14

Ultimate Worrier says...

Cash grabbing at its finest. This country is going down the pan, fast.
Cash grabbing at its finest. This country is going down the pan, fast. Ultimate Worrier
  • Score: 5

2:08pm Wed 16 Jul 14

pwharley says...

b3talover wrote:
ivor27 wrote:
This looks like one rule for one and one for another. The teacher staff can go on strike and parents have to work around that .... but that's ok. When parents take children out of school for holidays because the prices during term time are drastically cheaper, they will get fined.

Perhaps somebody can explain how this works??
Why not home school your children? You can take them on holiday whenever you want then. The law says you have to provide your children with an education, it doesn't say you have to send them to school.
Good suggestion by b3talover!

Guidance on Home Education is here
https://www.gov.uk/h
ome-education

After 1-2 weeks of "Home Education" (foreign cultures, languages, geography, etc!), you could decide they were missing their friends and send them back to school!
[quote][p][bold]b3talover[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ivor27[/bold] wrote: This looks like one rule for one and one for another. The teacher staff can go on strike and parents have to work around that .... but that's ok. When parents take children out of school for holidays because the prices during term time are drastically cheaper, they will get fined. Perhaps somebody can explain how this works??[/p][/quote]Why not home school your children? You can take them on holiday whenever you want then. The law says you have to provide your children with an education, it doesn't say you have to send them to school.[/p][/quote]Good suggestion by b3talover! Guidance on Home Education is here https://www.gov.uk/h ome-education After 1-2 weeks of "Home Education" (foreign cultures, languages, geography, etc!), you could decide they were missing their friends and send them back to school! pwharley
  • Score: 3

2:12pm Wed 16 Jul 14

landyman3030 says...

ivor27 wrote:
This looks like one rule for one and one for another. The teacher staff can go on strike and parents have to work around that .... but that's ok. When parents take children out of school for holidays because the prices during term time are drastically cheaper, they will get fined.

Perhaps somebody can explain how this works??
Be clear that none of this fine is in any way LEA, head teacher, teacher or Union based. This is what your WAG thinks and has decided to force through all on their lonesome. The right to strike action by anybody is a completely different issue. No doubt the WAG is enjoying the controversy this decision is creating regarding teachers and industrial action.
What is important is the fact that the school banding system used in Wales is judged by many things. One of the criteria is attendance. My daughters secondary school has been down graded from level 3 to level 4 because of two points. The new maths curriculum introduced circa 2012 is proving amazingly difficult to navigate so marks have dropped. The second is the attendance. Continuing truancy and lateness has dropped them a band. so instead of allowing the head teachers to instigate the fines for what they intended, the WAG have decreed from high that ALL MUST OBEY. Kneel and obey.
[quote][p][bold]ivor27[/bold] wrote: This looks like one rule for one and one for another. The teacher staff can go on strike and parents have to work around that .... but that's ok. When parents take children out of school for holidays because the prices during term time are drastically cheaper, they will get fined. Perhaps somebody can explain how this works??[/p][/quote]Be clear that none of this fine is in any way LEA, head teacher, teacher or Union based. This is what your WAG thinks and has decided to force through all on their lonesome. The right to strike action by anybody is a completely different issue. No doubt the WAG is enjoying the controversy this decision is creating regarding teachers and industrial action. What is important is the fact that the school banding system used in Wales is judged by many things. One of the criteria is attendance. My daughters secondary school has been down graded from level 3 to level 4 because of two points. The new maths curriculum introduced circa 2012 is proving amazingly difficult to navigate so marks have dropped. The second is the attendance. Continuing truancy and lateness has dropped them a band. so instead of allowing the head teachers to instigate the fines for what they intended, the WAG have decreed from high that ALL MUST OBEY. Kneel and obey. landyman3030
  • Score: 2

2:20pm Wed 16 Jul 14

golfer says...

Pay fine £60..save £500 on a holiday out of term ..sounds like a good deal of the day to me ..but soon teachers be on strike again so can we fine them £60 for pointless absent reasons ..worthless strike so nothing said about them ..only us having to stay at home and arrange work rota ..then again 6weeks holidays for them soon ..easy
Pay fine £60..save £500 on a holiday out of term ..sounds like a good deal of the day to me ..but soon teachers be on strike again so can we fine them £60 for pointless absent reasons ..worthless strike so nothing said about them ..only us having to stay at home and arrange work rota ..then again 6weeks holidays for them soon ..easy golfer
  • Score: -3

2:32pm Wed 16 Jul 14

landyman3030 says...

golfer wrote:
Pay fine £60..save £500 on a holiday out of term ..sounds like a good deal of the day to me ..but soon teachers be on strike again so can we fine them £60 for pointless absent reasons ..worthless strike so nothing said about them ..only us having to stay at home and arrange work rota ..then again 6weeks holidays for them soon ..easy
The industrial action has got nothing to do with this system of fines. Whether you agree or disagree with the strike action is immaterial. The WAG and the LEA arrange for teacher training days in term time forcing days off. The WAG is instigating the penalty system. Why not use the first week of holidays for a week of training? Or get the teachers back in a week early. The WAG and LEA will keep children out of the classroom for training but will fine parents for a holiday. Talk about brazen contradiction. Double standards are alive and well. Put the blame where it came from. The WAG.
[quote][p][bold]golfer[/bold] wrote: Pay fine £60..save £500 on a holiday out of term ..sounds like a good deal of the day to me ..but soon teachers be on strike again so can we fine them £60 for pointless absent reasons ..worthless strike so nothing said about them ..only us having to stay at home and arrange work rota ..then again 6weeks holidays for them soon ..easy[/p][/quote]The industrial action has got nothing to do with this system of fines. Whether you agree or disagree with the strike action is immaterial. The WAG and the LEA arrange for teacher training days in term time forcing days off. The WAG is instigating the penalty system. Why not use the first week of holidays for a week of training? Or get the teachers back in a week early. The WAG and LEA will keep children out of the classroom for training but will fine parents for a holiday. Talk about brazen contradiction. Double standards are alive and well. Put the blame where it came from. The WAG. landyman3030
  • Score: 1

2:49pm Wed 16 Jul 14

emmaw86 says...

ivor27 wrote:
This looks like one rule for one and one for another. The teacher staff can go on strike and parents have to work around that .... but that's ok. When parents take children out of school for holidays because the prices during term time are drastically cheaper, they will get fined.

Perhaps somebody can explain how this works??
I dont recall any teachers strikes lasting 5 school days? Ridiculous argument.
[quote][p][bold]ivor27[/bold] wrote: This looks like one rule for one and one for another. The teacher staff can go on strike and parents have to work around that .... but that's ok. When parents take children out of school for holidays because the prices during term time are drastically cheaper, they will get fined. Perhaps somebody can explain how this works??[/p][/quote]I dont recall any teachers strikes lasting 5 school days? Ridiculous argument. emmaw86
  • Score: 1

2:50pm Wed 16 Jul 14

rogiemassive says...

Parents are penalised enough when having to take unpaid time off work for school snow days and teacher training days ( inset ). We are turning into a nanny state. Generations of children have gone through the past education system and have gone on to be well educated citizens. Common sense should be left to prevail.
Parents are penalised enough when having to take unpaid time off work for school snow days and teacher training days ( inset ). We are turning into a nanny state. Generations of children have gone through the past education system and have gone on to be well educated citizens. Common sense should be left to prevail. rogiemassive
  • Score: 2

3:37pm Wed 16 Jul 14

arjwain says...

who are the council ? .. are they part of the police force ..
if you send your kids to school they do not turn up hows that a parents fault so if a child gets dropped off ..you see your child enter the gates ..then do the school get a fine for allowing the child to escape ..
its the children of today get use to it this country made the little horrors now deal with it ..
dont blame the parents for this countries mistakes ..
who are the council ? .. are they part of the police force .. if you send your kids to school they do not turn up hows that a parents fault so if a child gets dropped off ..you see your child enter the gates ..then do the school get a fine for allowing the child to escape .. its the children of today get use to it this country made the little horrors now deal with it .. dont blame the parents for this countries mistakes .. arjwain
  • Score: -3

7:37pm Wed 16 Jul 14

Limestonecowboy says...

Parents to blame! god forbid want a holiday in the summer break save for one its not mandatory for an expensive holiday children might learn nothing comes for free but exotic holidays is to boast about I suppose.
Parents to blame! god forbid want a holiday in the summer break save for one its not mandatory for an expensive holiday children might learn nothing comes for free but exotic holidays is to boast about I suppose. Limestonecowboy
  • Score: 2

7:42pm Wed 16 Jul 14

Katie Re-Registered says...

Crikey, I don't know the incomes some people may be on, but personally I wouldn't call £60 quid a "punitive" amount of dosh!
Crikey, I don't know the incomes some people may be on, but personally I wouldn't call £60 quid a "punitive" amount of dosh! Katie Re-Registered
  • Score: 2

8:50pm Wed 16 Jul 14

landyman3030 says...

Katie Re-Registered wrote:
Crikey, I don't know the incomes some people may be on, but personally I wouldn't call £60 quid a "punitive" amount of dosh!
Try three children for the first fort nights holiday in ten years. Still cheaper than going out of term time.
[quote][p][bold]Katie Re-Registered[/bold] wrote: Crikey, I don't know the incomes some people may be on, but personally I wouldn't call £60 quid a "punitive" amount of dosh![/p][/quote]Try three children for the first fort nights holiday in ten years. Still cheaper than going out of term time. landyman3030
  • Score: 1

12:15pm Thu 17 Jul 14

ivor27 says...

emmaw86 wrote:
ivor27 wrote: This looks like one rule for one and one for another. The teacher staff can go on strike and parents have to work around that .... but that's ok. When parents take children out of school for holidays because the prices during term time are drastically cheaper, they will get fined. Perhaps somebody can explain how this works??
I dont recall any teachers strikes lasting 5 school days? Ridiculous argument.
I think you're missing the point here. This has nothing to do with teachers striking for 5 days - it's the fact that they strike, have training days, etc., and that appears to be ok. If you are an employed parent then you have to make arrangements for these strike/training days and that can cost money. But if you want to take your child out of school for a holiday then that's an offense.
[quote][p][bold]emmaw86[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ivor27[/bold] wrote: This looks like one rule for one and one for another. The teacher staff can go on strike and parents have to work around that .... but that's ok. When parents take children out of school for holidays because the prices during term time are drastically cheaper, they will get fined. Perhaps somebody can explain how this works??[/p][/quote]I dont recall any teachers strikes lasting 5 school days? Ridiculous argument.[/p][/quote]I think you're missing the point here. This has nothing to do with teachers striking for 5 days - it's the fact that they strike, have training days, etc., and that appears to be ok. If you are an employed parent then you have to make arrangements for these strike/training days and that can cost money. But if you want to take your child out of school for a holiday then that's an offense. ivor27
  • Score: 2

11:13am Fri 18 Jul 14

Realist UK says...

Unbelievable. Schools have lost the respect of feckless pupils and are so liberal that they won't address poor behaviour so local authorities fine the parents. Typical lefty logic.
Unbelievable. Schools have lost the respect of feckless pupils and are so liberal that they won't address poor behaviour so local authorities fine the parents. Typical lefty logic. Realist UK
  • Score: 0

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