Return to greater use of fines for parents who do not send their children to school says education minister
Local authorities will no longer be discouraged from fining parents who do not send their children to school as Covid restrictions are lifted, the education minister has said.
Jeremy Miles said however that they would only “revert to the pre-Covid practice” when there wasn’t an “underlying reason” why children were missing school.
He said that the pandemic had proven that children learnt best in a face to face setting and that he was concerned that “particular year groups and particular cohorts and learners have been more likely in some cases very much more likely than others not to be in school”.
“As you know we have not at any point changed the law in relation to the regime around fixed penalty fines,” Jeremy Miles said at today’s Welsh Government press conference.
“What we have done is discouraged the issuing of fines given the circumstances that you’ve all been experiencing a particularly challenging circumstances that many learners have faced.”
Jeremy Miles added that in the Senedd this afternoon he would be saying that they will now be “looking to local authorities to revert to the pre COVID guidance in relation to the issuing of fines”.
“Now it is still the case that these should only be used as a last resort when all attempts to engage with families in the range of ways that we have been have been exhausted,” he said.
“And you will also be aware that I recently committed additional funding to recruit family engagement officers in Wales to increase our ability to have bespoke relations relationships with families and to engage in particular ways where learners have been persistently absent.”
He added that “children learn best when they are together with their peers learning with their teachers face to face in that in that classroom setting”.
“We are very clear about many adverse effects that children and young people have felt by not being able to be in that environment,” he said.
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