Headteacher REFUSES to fine parents if children don't return to school in September after coronavirus lockdownJuly 2, 2020
A HEADTEACHER refuses to fine parents if their children don’t return to school in September after lockdown.
Michael Ferry of St Wilfrid’s Catholic School in Crawley, West Sussex, described plans to penalise families for keeping their kids at home as “ludicrious”.
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A return to school will be “the law” by September with fines for parents who disobey, according to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
But Mr Ferry has slammed the idea and plans to leave the decision to mums and dads.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he said: “A significant amount of our community has been affected by the closure of Gatwick Airport.
“And if I fine parents £120, we’re effectively saying I’m taking away eight weeks worth of free school meal vouchers because that’s what it amounts to in stark terms.
“I will not be fining parents in any way, shape or form in September and I think it’s ludicrous to suggest it.
“If they make the decision that it is not safe or right for their child to come back, we will work with parents in partnership. But I will not be fining.”
I will not be fining parents in any way, shape or form in September and I think it’s ludicrous to suggest it.
Parents are not currently fined for not sending their kids back to school during the pandemic.
But Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said a return to school will be “compulsory” come September.
Families could face financial penalties of £60 for keeping their children at home without “good reason”.
This rises to £120 if not paid within 21 days, and parents could even face jailif prosecuted.
Mr Williamson told LBC: “It is going to be compulsory for children to return back to school unless there’s a very good reason, or a local spike where there have had to be local lockdowns.
“We do have to get back into compulsory education as part of that, obviously fines sit alongside that.
“Unless there is a good reason for the absence then we will be looking at the fact that we would be imposing fines on families if they are not sending their children back.”
But teaching unions have said there are legal loopholes which would allow heads not to issue fines for pupil absences.
They will be able to authorise absences in “exceptional circumstances” – including parents concerned about their child’s risk of Covid-19.
Detailed plans for a full return to the classroom from the beginning of the academic year were revealed revealed today.
These include staggered breaks, no assemblies and fringe subjects can be dropped.
An increase to the current 15-child limit on class sizes has already been signed off by Public Health England.
And schools in England have been told to use “year bubbles” to get every child back learning in September.
Only children in reception, year one and year six have been allowed to return to class since the virus outbreak.
Secondary schools in England have also been allowed to reopen for some students from Years 10, 11 and 12 since June 15.
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