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Child benefit docked if truanting fines unpaid

Discussion in 'Education news' started by emerald52, Oct 6, 2015.

  1. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    So who are they punishing? Are we back to the deserving and undeserving poor? How long till workhouses return?
  2. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    Education is compulsory up to the age of 18 and is free at the point of use, unless you want to avail yourself of the private sector. No parent should deny their child their right to an education. If they want to provide that education at home then that's their choice. There are parents (and I've meet quite a few over the years - in my 'other' career) that just can't be ar$ed to either take their child, or make their child go, to school.

    Docking Child Benefit might not sit well with some, but it sits well with me. I've been advocating this kind of measure to penalise inadequate parenting for years.
    FolkFan likes this.
  3. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Don't go on holiday in term time, and make sure you get your children to school and you won't get fined. Simples.
    DaisysLot and snowyhead like this.
  4. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    It's not that simple - you send the kid off to school, you go to work, they don't bother going and spend the day in town. You take the kid into school and get into work late. They leave at break and go down to town. You take the kid into school and take time off work - you get the phone call that they've left the premises - you then have to drive round town to find them and try and persuade them into the car and back to school..... You tell your kid to go to school - he hits you and walks out....

    Not all truants are under the control of their parents.
    CWadd and emerald52 like this.
  5. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    Other unpaid fines such as speeding are not docked from child benefit. Speeding drivers can cause terrible injuries. Why only truanting fines?
  6. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Monica makes some good points. I suppose once a child turns 15 or 16 it is much more difficult to get them to follow instructions if they have decided to defy you.
    snowyhead likes this.
  7. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    Not every driver who breaks the speed limit has a child or is in receipt of child benefit (ie higher income earners not entitled to it). Docking Child Benefit should only be a last resort for those who deliberately encourage their child(ren) not to attend school.

    Monica - you're right there are some parents who allow their children to bully them. In those cases they should be seeking help from the school and other agencies and not allowing the situation to spiral out of control.
    pepper5 likes this.
  8. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Child benefit should be docked for parents who condone truanting, esp. those who take their children out of school for holidays - in fact I'd go further and remove 1 month's CB for every day a child misses school due to the family going on holiday.
  9. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    Blimey FF. ;)
  10. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Some depressingly ill-informed comment as ever.

    As someone who works with challenging pupils in a socially deprived area, attendance is a huge problem for us, but fining or financially penalising dysfunctional families will not help at all, and more to the point will not help the children.
  11. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    So if you are a higher earner, not eligible for child benefit, you can get away with community service and maintain your income, if you don't pay truanting fines.
  12. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    I would hope that a judge/magistrate would look dimly on someone who condoned truanting and also had the financial means to pay a fine, but refused, by giving them a custodial sentence.
    FolkFan likes this.
  13. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    How do you conclude that they are ill-informed comments, Scint?

    As I pointed out in my comment, I have worked with just the kind of families you describe but in a social services type capacity (not social services but similar). Not ill-informed at all, in fact very well-informed.
  14. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    They are ill-informed. There is a huge amount of evidence in many forms here:

    The verdict from the studies we have seen and the experiences of schools, local authorities, education welfare officers and parents is that for families with multiple problems, fines tend not to work. These families are unaware of the threat of fines and may further disengage from their child's education if they are issued a fine. Fines do not address many of the reasons why some children are missing school. They do not solve the problem of a child who is missing school because they are being bullied or because they are struggling to catch up with their peers.
    Official figures show that the number of truants is falling, but this is the case in local authorities that issue many fines and those that issue none at all. However, there is some evidence that fines are effective as a short-term measure for families that do not face multiple problems.

  15. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    Can I suggest then that it's our PM who is ill-informed - him who said it at the Tory conference today.
  16. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Totally agree.
    Schools docking money from parents is going to ruin any chance of a positive home school relationship for some families. I'd bet it will make very little difference to truancy rates.
  17. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    I believe fines for deliberately keeping your child away from school are pursued by LAs. Schools just pass attendance data to Education Welfare Officers who do the rest. Before it gets to that stage schools do work with families (usually with the assistance of a FLO) to help support families to get their children to school regularly and on time. At the end of the day head teachers are acutely aware how poor attendance data can skew the perception of how effective the school is overall.

    At my school (primary) the FLO and attendance officer actually go to the homes of persistent offenders to collect the children so that their attendance record improves. In some cases the main carer may be suffering from illness that prevents them from getting children up and ready for school and schools are usually sympathetic in these situations, in some cases arranging for other parents to collect the children before and after school. From my experience it is only when all other avenues have been exhausted that a parent is fined.
  18. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Unpaid fines for motoring offences can lead to the car being impounded and sold or crushed.

    I agree with child benefit being with held for unpaid truanting fines, it's part of the contract between state and parents. If parents can't make their children go to school it's most probably the result of their parenting failure, if they don't like the lack of money then don't give the child money, remove their phone, computer game etc. in other words step up to the plate and start actually parenting the child.

    "He won't listen, what can you do?...." is all too often the typical pathetic excuse.
    snowyhead and FolkFan like this.
  19. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter


    Do you really believe that? Despite what actually happens in the real world every day? And the evidence quoted above?

    Or do you know what the consequences will be, but you want to do it anyway?
  20. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    If parents can't do the basics, such as getting their children to school, they are - in effect - colluding with abusing their children. In those cases the children should be taken away.

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