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When fines rise for missing school, parents may face prosecution.

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In an effort to serve as a “deterrent” for parents who take their children out of school without permission, Education Minister Damian Hinds has threatened to prosecute those who do not pay the penalties.

The government has promised a minimum £20 increase in fines in an effort to compel attendance. Starting with the 2024–2025 academic year, the Department for Education (DfE) will implement a national framework to standardize the consequences for unapproved absences. If a child misses five days, all parents may be subject to fines, which increase from £60 to £80 after 21 days and from £120 to £160 after 28 days.

Minister Hinds emphasized the value of school attendance, saying that each and every day counts. He explained that, while the government’s main objective is to prohibit such actions entirely, failing to pay fines could result in legal procedures.

The National Education Union is one of the opponents of the fine increases, claiming that they make matters worse financially, especially in light of the current cost of living crisis. They contend that rather than increasing attendance, fines actually cause pupils to drop out of the educational system.

In order to help raising attendance rates, schools should also share attendance records in order to spot trends. A national attendance ambassador should be appointed.

Bridget Phillipson, the shadow education secretary for Labour, asked the government to address the underlying reasons of absenteeism instead of focusing just on treating the symptoms. She suggested registering children who do not attend school and providing mental health help in schools.

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