Fine parents for school absence only as last resort, MPs urge
Education / Wed 27th Sep 2023 at 08:20am
MENTAL health difficulties should be a valid reason for children to miss school while fines aimed at parents should be kept as a “last resort”, according to MPs on the Commons education committee reports The Guardian.
The committee’s report into rising levels of persistent absence among disadvantaged families in England warns that fining parents for absences may be less of a deterrent since the Covid pandemic, and even counterproductive among low-income families with financial struggles.
“We heard that fines do not address the barriers that low-income families face and can be counterproductive by adding to difficult financial circumstances. Families are struggling with high school costs and in some cases, fining is not an appropriate, compassionate, or helpful response,” the MPs reported.
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Better still change the way schools work, currently they are highly regimented and too competitive, too busy following an out of date curriculum, too focused on spurious targets whilst under the threat of OFSTED. They are effectively exam factories, focused on virtually rote learning and drill rather than education and giving students the opportunity to think creatively and learn within a collaborative environment. Teachers don't have the resources and in many places, not even buildings within which to work. No wonder students vote with their feet.