school truancy penalties

I am completely amazed about the sums involved in the school truancy penalty system. Just this seems to mean that parents have plenty of spare cash laying about if they can afford to pay those penalties if their kids do not attend school regularly.

Between August of 2004 and 2009, 69.436 penalties were issued. Those penalties come at a minimum of £50. That makes £3.471.800 paid by parents. But that can be even more because the penalty rises to £100 if not paid within 42 days.

No wonder David Cameron now feels confident to impose a cut in benefits for those failing to send their kids to school regularly because he can think that if parents didn’t mind paying the fixed penalties, they might as well just get a deduction in benefits, its cheaper to administer.

The figures are over 5 years, this means that 13.887 pupils per year did not attend school regularly. Probably a drop on a hot stone, if one then disperses that number amongst all schools in the UK. The proposed benefit cuts for non-attendance will only affect very few parents then and it is not even quite clear whether all kids that formed part of that truancy statistic were in fact kids of benefit recipients. But most parents today get either child benefit or working tax credit or child tax credit.

I am not quite sure how this works out with home-school agreements though.

David Cameron says he wants to see Free schools spring up all over the UK. I cannot see anybody in my area being even remotely interested in setting one up. Free schools will only be a good influence if they actually scare state-run schools to better their performance. In my area though, even the school my child attends, refused to take part even in the SATS testing this year. I do not think that state-run schools are remotely touched by the Free schools system.

I think there got to be a better incentive for it to be effective or a more draconian approach to better teaching results. It can be potentially very harmful for bright children if they are forced to attend a slow school that does not do their learning ability credit. I have not heard much about helping gifted children. The whole discussion is not focussed enough on good results. If the government doesn’t even force schools to take part in results testing then what is this discussion even about, then it just becomes a lot of hot air.

I cannot see the point at all, other than ensure that all kids are somewhere looked after during the day and don’t roam the streets, that is hardly excelling excellence for teaching. Only a thoroughly structured education system that forcibly strains attainment can achieve betterment but not glorified attendance alone.

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