Emerson Valley School plans fines for pupil lateness

Emerson Valley School Emerson Valley School plans to fine parents of pupils who miss registration 10 times or more a term

A school plans to fine parents of pupils who consistently arrive late.

Emerson Valley School in Milton Keynes plans to impose the £60 fixed penalty if children miss registration 10 times in a 12-week term.

The junior school, which is in special measures, hopes the move will raise standards.

But the plan has been criticised by some parents who say the school should consider those who have other children to take to nearby schools.

If the fine is not paid within 21 days, it will increase to £120.

Milton Keynes Council said a borough-wide policy was in place, but the final decision on whether to issue the penalties lay with individual schools.

The fixed penalty notices are backed by law and parents who do not pay can be prosecuted.

'Lot of pressure'

In a statement, the council said: "Our figures show that in the last academic year, two fixed penalty fines were issued in relation to persistent late attendance by pupils. In the majority of cases a warning letter has proved to be enough to stop the issue."

Start Quote

National and local authority guidance is that as a last resort, a fixed penalty notice may be issued for persistent late arrival at school”

End Quote Emerson Valley School

Parent Georgina Hodgkinson said: "There needs to be a deterrent but I think it puts a lot of pressure on parents and does break the commitment between the school and the families.

"If you have got, like we have, children in different schools, you are trying to navigate logistics from one to the other and there are always going to be some problems with that."

In a statement, the school, in Hodder Lane, said the link between good attendance and pupils' achievement was clear and that its strategies to improve attendance and punctuality had been successful.

"National and local authority guidance is that as a last resort, a fixed penalty notice may be issued for persistent late arrival at school," it said.

No warning letters or fixed penalties for persistent late arrival had been issued during the current year, it added.

The school said it had liaised with nearby Merebrook Infant School and taken "positive steps", including opening its playground from 08:40, to ensure pupils could arrive punctually at both schools

It said it was working with other local schools to improve attendance and punctuality.

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