School To Fine Parents £1 For Every Five Minutes They’re Late To Pick Up Their Kid
A school in Kent is introducing a charge to parents who are late picking their children up from school in an effort to encourage them to be on time.
Holy Trinity primary school, in Gravesend, will fine parents £1 per pupil for every five minutes they’re late collecting their children. If the parents still don’t arrive after half an hour, staff at the school will contact social services.
The school has been kind enough to give parents a 10 minutes window to collect their children for free and will start charging after 3.40pm, following the end of the school day at 3.30pm.
The system has come into place as lateness has become ‘increasingly common’, according to headteacher Denise Gibbs-Naguar.
A ‘significant number’ of pupils are said to often remain uncollected 30 minutes after the school finishes, so Holy Trinity defended its decision by pointing out paying staff overtime to care for uncollected children has become ‘unsustainable’ and would in turn impact other aspects of school funding.
The lateness of parents is said to have an impact on children as well as staff, as Gibbs-Naguar explained pupils who are collected late often ‘exhibit signs of anxiety and distress’ and ‘worry that something may have happened’ to their parents, the BBC News reports.
The headteacher added:
Clearly this is not something anyone wants a child to experience.
While the fine may seem extreme, the school has said fines will not be issued when there are ‘reasonable circumstances’ for lateness, for example car accidents, illness and flooding.
Parents will also only be affected by the fining system once they have received three warnings about their lack of punctuality.
The announcement of the new rule received mixed reviews from parents, with one mother-of-four saying she understood the school’s move while another described the system as ‘petty’.
The National Education Union is not on board with the plan and fears fines and ‘threats’ of social services would ‘undermine positive relationships with parents’.
Jerry Glazier, of the NEU, admitted it was important ‘parents understand why particular actions are detrimental to the school’, but said fining is not the best way to go about it, suggesting instead staff have ‘proper meaningful engagement’ with parents.
I don’t think there’s any legal power that enables a school to fine parents and that’s probably the end of it.
In order to enforce the system, the school would send a letter to offending parents requesting the amount due. However, it is not clear what action the school would take if a parent refused to pay the fine.
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