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Primary school begins fining parents

16 January 2020 882 views No Comment

Primary school begins fining parents who are late to pick up children from the school gates

Almost 223,000 penalty fines were issued to parents for taking children on term-time holidays in 2017-18.

A primary school has sparked anger after introducing a policy of fining parents if they are late to pick up their children.

New rules at Holy Trinity School in Gravesend, Kent, state that parents and carers will be fined £1 every five minutes per child if they fail to arrive at the school gates on time.

The new policy also outlines that the school will contact social services if a child isn’t collected by 4pm, and if parents cannot be contacted, children will be admitted into the care of the local authority.

However, the penalty will only come into force they’ve been late three times.

The move follows similar policies in other schools which have argued that their already stretched budgets cannot cover paying teachers for extra hours simply because parents are not keeping to the timetable.

But some people fear the penalties and threats will punish less-well off families who are struggling to cover basic costs already.

One parent at the school, who did not want to be named, told Kent Online: “Lots of schools finish around the same time and this means that it is a struggle to get kids on time.

“The letter says that if kids aren’t picked up by 4pm the school will ring social services.

“We think the fact that the governors have agreed to impose this is disgraceful and must be illegal.

“It’s meant to be a Christian school,” they added.

But headteacher Denise Gibbs-Naguar defended the new rules, and said: “The Late Collection of Pupils Policy was introduced this week in a bid to ensure all our children are collected from school on time.

“School finishes at 3.30pm but it is becoming an increasingly regular occurrence to have a significant number of uncollected children still on site at 4pm.

“When this occurs a member of staff has to be paid overtime to supervise those children – the school is not able to sustain this ongoing cost without it impacting upon other areas of the school budget and therefore on the children’s schooling.
photo Danny Lawson

“Additionally, pupils who are collected late often exhibit signs of anxiety and distress as they don’t know where their parent/carer is and worry that something may have happened to them.
“Clearly this is not something anyone wants a child to experience.”

There has been a tightening up on parental punctuality at schools across the UK in recent years, with fines for late arrivals, non-attendance, and taking children on holiday during term

picture by Danny LawsonI

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