*Warning. Warning. Rant Alert. Rant Alert*
Last week it was all over the news and social media about two schools in Milton Keynes who were planning to fine children (or rather their parents) for being late for school . . .
Now this article, in true Daily Mail style, is somewhat inflammatory in my opinion – the dramatic headline of “Headteacher imposes £60 fines on EACH parent if their child is a few minutes late for school . . . with a find DOUBLING to £120 if not paid within 21 days” is of course designed to to draw you in and get your back up. How dare they fine parents for not getting their children to school on time. Isn’t fining them for taking holidays in term time enough?
On face value it sounds pretty unfair doesn’t it – fined for being a few minutes late? What about if you get stuck in traffic? What about those one off mornings when everything just seems to go wrong? Or what if your newborn baby fills their nappy or needs feeding just before you’re about to leave the house? (This happened to me more than once in the last couple of weeks before Christmas!)
But actually when you read the article and consider the facts, I think it’s actually quite sensible. We’re not talking about those one off mornings where you got stuck in traffic or you couldn’t find your child’s shoes (yes that was us this morning – he went to school in his wellies and got there on time). What we’re talking about is being persistently late.
Parents will be fined if their children miss registration 10 times in a term
TEN TIMES in a term. That’s being late for school TEN TIMES in around 12 weeks. Being late almost once a week! That’s not a one off. If you’re getting stuck in traffic that often then perhaps you need to set off earlier? If you can’t find your shoes that often then make sure you put them away properly the night before. Surely its not hard? But further to that we’re not talking about being “a few minutes late” – if your child is late enough to miss registration then, for the most part, you’re looking at being about 20 minutes late. The majority of schools don’t class a child as “late” on the register if they are not in the line first thing, they are classed as late at the end of registration and this is usually around 20 minutes from the start of the school day. So if you look at it again we’re now talking about being over 20 minutes late, 10 times in 12 weeks. Over 200 minutes of learning time missed in a term – that’s almost 3.5 hours – half a day?! Half a day’s learning missed – and important learning too. Those “few minutes” are vital – the start of the lesson where much of the teaching and instruction happens before children go off to explore and develop on what they have just been taught – how can you expect your child to progress if they persistently miss important parts of their lessons? And how is it fair if your child’s teacher has to reteach something especially for one child every day when they should be focussing their attention on the rest of the class who were actually able to make it to school on time?
So you know what? If the threat of a £60 fine gets those parents out of bed a bit earlier then good! I’m all for it.
|Photo Credit: Moonrhino via Compfight cc
(I should add that I’d like to think there would be a certain level of common sense applied to this with cases being reviewed on an individual basis and fines levied as a last resort after all other avenues of support have been exhausted!)
I’d love to know what you think about this? Harsh or fair?