Welsh Government considers £120 fines for parents of truanting children
Parents in Wales who allow their children to skip school could be fined up to £120, under new Welsh Government plans.
Education Minister Leighton Andrews has reportedly told his officials to draw up the plans in a bid to tackle truancy rates.
Critics have said the plans would hit poorer families hard.
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “The minister has raised concerns about levels of absenteeism in Welsh schools and we are exploring how a system of penalty notices for regular non-attendance at school in Wales could work in practice alongside other strategies and support systems already available.
“We aim to publish a comprehensive consultation on this in September where the system of penalty notices and its operation will set out the proposals in more detail.”
South Wales East AM Lindsay Whittle, who is also Plaid Cymru’s spokesman for children has hit out at the plans.
He said: “The plans for penalties of up to £120 will hit the poorest hardest because there is a link between poverty and truancy.
“I find it difficult to understand how hammering parents who are already struggling to make ends meet will help. It will increase the pressure on parents and what happens in a household where one children goes to school regularly and another doesn’t?
“Of course, truancy is a very serious issue but the Welsh Government would be advised to work with local authorities to ensure there are support systems in place for parents and schools.
“Some in society do believe that it is acceptable for children to miss the occasional lesson. But if children fall behind they can often struggle to catch up. Plaid believes that we need to change this culture and also give teachers the support they need. One important aspect the Welsh Government needs to look at is the literacy levels of those pupils not attending classes.”Follow @CaerphillyObsvr