Public order Schools may spurn new power to fine

Youth offending teams, local education authorities and the police
will get more powers this week to deal with truancy and antisocial
behaviour in and out of schools.

However, there remains some doubt as to what extent the new powers,
introduced under the Antisocial Behaviour Act 2003, will be

A survey in the Times Educational Supplement found that
only 12 head teachers out of 100 said they would use the new
penalties. Another 44 said it was very unlikely and a further 44
said they would never impose fines.

The poll found widespread concern that imposing financial sanctions
would jeopardise the relationship between parents and

Magistrates courts will be able to enforce parenting orders on
parents who are unwilling to tackle their child’s behaviour.

Penalty notices of up to £100 will be available as an
alternative to prosecution for parents who do not take
responsibility for securing their child’s regular attendance at

But the charity Parentline Plus warned that the current provision
of parent support services was “patchy and of mixed quality”.

The fact that LEAs have the authority to issue parenting contracts
and orders could place further demands on an “already stretched and
under-resourced service”.

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