The government has announced plans to expand its scheme that can result in parents of persistent truants being fined or sent to prison.
The Fast Track to Attendance programme targets the most persistent serial truants, and threatens their parents with a fine of up to £2,500 or three months in prison if their child’s attendance does not improve over a 12-week period.
Initially targeting 8, 000 pupils the scheme has been extended to apply to the 10, 000 most persistent truants. The additional 2,000 children and parents will be placed on the programme immediately.
At the same time, the government has launched an initiative to provide parents with discount holidays outside term times in an attempt to prevent children missing school. ‘Every Lesson Counts’, which ministers first spoke about publicly in September, is a joint initiative between the government and the travel industry.
Travel companies will offer parents discounts and free child places to encourage them to go away in the school holidays. Many parents take their children away during term time because prices go up during the school holidays.
A dedicated website, www.parentscentre.gov.uk/everylessoncounts, will provide links to the deals.