PARENTS face fines of £120 if they refuse to send their kids back to schools as they reopen again this week.
Schools minister Nick Gibb said fines will be used as “last resort”, warning the risk to children’s mental health and prospects if they don’t go back to school can be “quite damaging”.
Mr Gibb told Sky News this morning: “Schools are mandatory in this country.
“So all the rules about attendance will apply from today.
“Fines have always been the last resort for headteachers but it is a tool to make sure young people are attending school.”
He said it was natural for some parents to be concerned about their kids going back to school – but they should talk to headteachers for reassurance on the measures in place to keep students safe.
A whopping 97 per cent of schools are expected to reopen fully this week after most kids have spent 6 months out of classrooms.
Four in ten schools in England will welcome back pupils for the autumn term today, with the rest reopening later this week.
If kids don’t go to school “without a good reason”, local councils will initially give parents’ a fine of £60.
That will rise to £120 if it isn’t paid within 21 days, and parents can even face prosecution if they fail to pay up after 28 days.
It came as:
- Boris Johnson pinned his hopes for getting people back in the office on all children returning to school from this week – but some will return gradually
- Studies showed some kids would be nearly three months behind when they get back to class
- Ministers admitted they could delay next year’s exams for several weeks to give more time to study and catch up – but no decision has yet been made
- Kids are more likely to get measles than covid, a top doctor said
A report has warned about the extent of the damage to children from being out of school, saying most kids will be 3 months behind on learning when they get back this week.
Mr Gibb said: “What the chief medical officers are saying is it’s better for children to be in school, the risk of contracting the virus in the school environment is very low.
“But the risk of not being in school can be quite damaging to children’s mental health and also their long term prospect of education.”
Ministers have gone to great lengths to ensure children can safely be in classrooms – including bringing in masks in hallways and communal areas for secondary school pupils in areas with local lockdown restrictions.
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