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Benefits for parents of truants to be docked

The Prime Minister has announced that mums and dads in England who refuse to pay a penalty after their children play truant face having their child benefit docked

 

Currently around 40 per cent of fines go unpaid.

As it stands the system of non-payment for the £60 civil penalty leads to it being doubled to £120 after 21 days and subject to prosecution after 28.

But David Cameron has confirmed that a civil penalty will now be claimed through child benefit if the fine is not paid.

Mr Cameron said: “We are determined to tackle the harm truancy does to a child’s chances in life.

“There is nothing responsible about allowing your child to go without an education.

“So for parents who let their child play truant and refuse to pay truancy penalties, we will deduct it from their child benefit.”

Fewer than 17 per cent of children with 28 days’ absence at key stage four achieve the English baccalaureate, compared with 44 per cent of those who missed no lessons.

Figures obtained by the Press Association earlier this year show 16,430 people in England were prosecuted in 2014 for failing to ensure that a child went to school.

About three-quarters – 12,479 – were found guilty, and courts issued 9,214 parents with fines worth an average of £172.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the teachers union NASUWT, said docking benefits was not the answer.

“For some families all that this will do, of course, is increase the chaos and it will increase the deprivation.

“It won’t actually solve the problem and in the middle of all of this is a child who’s not getting their entitlement to education.”

The Prime Minister will also give parents the right to ask heads to provide breakfast and after-school clubs in a bid to increase childcare places.

Childcare providers will have the right to request the use of school facilities to operate clubs.

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