Parents in England who fail to send their children back to school in September will face fines, unless they have a good reason for them not attending, the Education Secretary said today.
The government are set to launch plans later in the week for the full reopening of schools this Autumn.
It will be compulsory for pupils in all year groups to return to school, unless there are local surges in infection rates.
“It is going to be compulsory for children to return back to school unless there’s a very good reason, or a local spike where there have had to be local lockdowns,” Education Secretary Gavin Williamson told LBC’s Nick Ferrari on his Breakfast show this morning.
“We do have to get back into compulsory education, and as part of that obviously fines sit alongside that. Unless there is a good reason for the absence then we will be looking at the fact that we would be imposing fines on families if they are not sending their children back.”
The general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, Geoff Barton, said: “We don’t think that it is the right approach to fine parents for the non-attendance of children as soon as schools fully reopen in September, and the government should not expect schools to take this action.
“There will be many frightened and anxious parents out there, and this is very much a case of building confidence that it is safe to return, rather than forcing the issue through the use of fines. The government must show a greater understanding of the realities of the situation, and we would recommend that there is a period of grace while normal patterns resume.”
What do you think of the announcement? Are your children back at school yet? Will they be going back in September?
Let us know in the comments.