Parents who allow their children to be absent from school without permission could face Child Benefit deductions, the Government has announced today.
The Government has announced new provisions to recover penalty notices from parents whose children repeatedly skip school.
A new mandatory penalty of £60, payable within 21 days and £120 subsequently, could be deducted from Child Benefit payments. If parents are not in receipt of Child Benefit penalty notices will be enforced through the courts.
Local authorities will be given a “range of sanctions to tackle truancy including the right to prosecute in the most serious instances”. A criminal prosecution could result in a fine of up to £2,500 and possible imprisonment.
Official figures show that 200,000 fewer pupils are skipping school compared with five years ago, resulting in 4.5 million fewer school days lost.
The Government says reducing school absence is a “top priority” that will lead to improved attainment. According to the Government, a pupil with no absences is around ten times more likely to achieve the English Baccalaureate than a pupil missing 15-20 per cent of school.
“These changes will ensure every child, regardless of their background, is given the opportunity to reach their potential.”