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Fines for being late to school. Incentive to get out of bed on time?

(115 Posts)
Sparklingbrook Wed 22-Jan-14 17:21:04

Here I have no idea how it will work.

Sparklingbrook Wed 22-Jan-14 17:23:01

Oh and the getting out of bed refers to the DC. grin Getting out of bed yourself isn't the difficult bit.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 22-Jan-14 17:26:49

I think it is a good idea.

We can all have a dreadful morning once in a while, but some children are late ALL the time and it must be horrid for them.

I help out with reading in my son's Y1 class a couple of times a week, and one little girl is late almost every day (I see her and her Dad walking up the road as I'm driving away after dropping DS on the mornings I don't stay to help). She misses a whole chunk of time in the mornings, doesn't get her turn reading because she is so late.

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 22-Jan-14 17:28:11

It's an awful idea. It doesn't take anything like traffic or other kids in other schools into account.

Also if people use public transport often it can be a case of choosing to get a bus that gets you there a couple of mins late or one that's 45 mins early.

It's not a case of "getting out of bed"

NinjaBunny Wed 22-Jan-14 17:28:39


There's people at DS's school who are late every day. I see them walking up to school when I'm halfway home (and we live a mile from school).

Sparklingbrook Wed 22-Jan-14 17:31:22

I am projecting with the 'getting out of bed' bit. DSs of 14 and 11 who should be taking responsibility for getting up themselves.
DS1 goes on the school bus so my deadline is getting him to the stop.

Yes, I suppose it's more for the people who are late day after day.

bemusedisnottheword Wed 22-Jan-14 17:31:50

awful idea. sn ds can be very difficult in the mornings and as a result can make us all late. I have to drive them to two different schools and traffic can be a nightmare. not as simple as just get out of bed earlier hmm

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 22-Jan-14 17:34:23

I'm sure I've read on here also that people have been told at appeals to stagger children being late. Your transport and time problems mean nothing.

So actually some parents are in te shit position of kids in different schools with no hope of either child ever being on time.

Sparklingbrook Wed 22-Jan-14 17:34:57

When Dss were at First School there were the same 2 children late every single morning. One Mum did admit it was because she couldn't get out of bed. shock

CaptChaos Wed 22-Jan-14 17:36:28

Also with SN sons, DS1 refused to go to school, so I often had to fireman's lift him there after he had screaming tantrums, easily took 30 minutes to walk the 5 min walk every morning, wouldn't countenance leaving the house until he saw other children heading to school. DS2 pretty similar, had no car, different school, so a mile away, wouldn't walk, screamed like I was trying to kill him. I loved school runs!

They always got there in the end though.

SaucyJack Wed 22-Jan-14 17:36:52

Sod that.

If they bring that in here we'd have no choice but to home-school or I'd go bankrupt in a week.

SpottyDottie Wed 22-Jan-14 17:37:37

I wake my children at 7 and they are out of bed by ten past. I HATE being late for anything and they know this. I appreciate its hard getting children to school. But it's a necessary life skill. When they are adults they will need to be on time for work. Not to mention that if they are persistently late, it can be disruptive to the class and detrimental to learning if they've missed something.

Can you tell it's a real bugbear of mine? I know from experience. I was always taken to school late as a child and I hated it. I missed playing with my friends at the start of day and then all eyes would be on me as I got into class. Hated it.

Bloodyteenagers Wed 22-Jan-14 17:37:44

I think it's actually a good idea. Late 10 times in 12 weeks is a lot. And yes I know what it's like to have children in different schools and at least one of the children are sn. It's not a case of don't be late ever, just don't be late every week.

Given the road to school floods, rather unpredictably and our lanes are so narrow any farm vehicle, removal van, oil delivery or septic tank emptying tanker blocks it completely, these would go straight in the shredder.

Sparklingbrook Wed 22-Jan-14 17:44:14

£60 seems such a lot to start with. You would have thought they would have done it with a lesser charge to begin with.

bemusedisnottheword Wed 22-Jan-14 17:45:13

I dont think I could firemans lift ds, he's bigger than me grin

I am quite lucky as my primary school have a breakfast club thats starts at 8 so I drop dd2 and 3 off there first. nursery aren't really supposed to go to breakfast club but as we have a lovely headteacher who knows us all she's agreed to let dd3 attend and she's watched by the ta in her class. That leaves me free to sort dd1 who is great and ds who is a nightmare and prone to meltdowns in the morning. Most mornings run smoothly but at least two a fortnight are bad

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 22-Jan-14 17:47:09

It won't change the behaviour of the parents that couldn't care less, it's just going to take food out those poor children's mouths. Again punishing children for the parents crimes.

That goes for the parents it's aimed at originally. Not those in situations I have mentioned above.

Sparklingbrook Wed 22-Jan-14 17:48:03

My 2 always get up just in the nick of time with no time left other than shower, teeth, dressed. It's really stressful.

DaddyPigsMistress Wed 22-Jan-14 17:55:08

The persistently late parent that this is supposed to hit won't give a fuck, thing wont change and they wont pay.

We were always late as kids despite living 3 mins from the school. My mother was a power crazed woman and wouldnt let us leave the house until she said so.sometimes it would be midday before she would let us go. Being fined would of done fuck all, she would of just blamed us and given her another thing to moan about

shoofly Wed 22-Jan-14 18:09:05

If all the other things that have been tried haven't worked, I can see that the Headteacher might think this would act as a deterrent.

DS1school did have a problem with persistent lateness from a number of pupils. HT has put a real emphasis on literacy and numeracy. Has spent money on new books and arranging extra help for both the kids who are struggling and the ones who are doing well. He really emphasised how much kids were missing if they were late and was very proactively asking was there anything the school could do to help. Apparently the lateness figures are now almost negligible

cory Wed 22-Jan-14 18:28:09

Dd used to collapse on her way to school, either because her joints gave way or because of really bad panic attacks. While she was still under 10 I was able to pick her up and carry her, but once she got as tall as me I just couldn't do it (I did eventually end up having a prolapse which I think may have been related to too much lifting). What do you do with a child who is having a meltdown and struggling to breathe? And who does it at least once a week?

In secondary she was often late because her disabled transport ran late.

Sparklingbrook Wed 22-Jan-14 18:34:10

I think in some circumstances special dispensation should be allowed cory. Genuine medical reasons the school should be made aware of.

DS1 has been late a couple of times and he was on the school bus, I would not be taking responsibility for that.

AllDirections Wed 22-Jan-14 18:35:57

There's people at DS's school who are late every day. I see them walking up to school when I'm halfway home (and we live a mile from school).

Same here but I'm also sure that they wouldn't pay any fines either.

Our HT is leaving and some parents are going to get such a shock when she's replaced! At the moment a lot of (the same) parents are late every day, take holidays when they like, uniform is lacking, lunch boxes are full of crap and there's not much homework/reading gets done. My DDs have been to several primary schools between them and I've never known a school be so lax about everything.

TeWiSavesTheDay Wed 22-Jan-14 18:42:04

I can see that it doesn't work as one size fits all.

But I was always late in and collected late as a primary child and knowing my parents a fine would have made an impact where polite words did not!

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 22-Jan-14 18:47:11

But how would you decide who to fine and who not to fine? All reasons are valid to those involved regardless of how anyone sees them.

And it depends on the head to. Some may be sympathetic to the daily struggles endured by parents who spend all morning driving their three kids to three schools or picking up their poor collapsed dd.

Others may not give a crap your child had a meltdown five mins before you were due to leave.

It all comes down to luck.

WooWooOwl Wed 22-Jan-14 18:53:43

I think it's a great idea and it need to be rolled out nationally, with head teachers being able to apply their discretion when there are genuine reasons for being late such as SNs.

My school has a few children that are always late, and we can tell which families are genuinely struggling because they have to deliver another child to a SN school and which ones are late because they can't parent properly.

Your child having a tantrum because they got the green cup instead of the red one is not a good excuse for being late. Nor is 'she refused to come into school unless I French plaited her hair' when she is five. Those parents deserve to be fined because they are disrupting their own children's education and they are distracting other children from theirs.

ArthursaidMartha Wed 22-Jan-14 18:53:59

I think the point is not to punish the minority of late arrivers who have a genuine reason to be late (like an SN child) but the majority of late arrivers who just can't be arsed to obey the rules.

I had four children arrive late in one session last week. Each time we had to stop, revisit the register and then the dinner register (which I had kept on my desk for a few mins before sending to the office as it is often the case that children are late). Each time disrupting the phonics session which had already started.

Every day I cover one class I wait at least ten minutes for the same parent to show up at the end of the day. Meaning I have precisely 5 minutes to clear the classroom and mark any work before the staff meeting which I have to leave straight from to take my own dc to an out of school sport club.

Apart from cases of genuine problems eg car breakdown it is completely unacceptable and always the same families time after time. If there is any chance this will deter parents then I welcome it.

It would be better to get pastoral care in place in every school, so that parents can be supported. What looks like 'Couldn't care less' lateness to the outside could be a result of many factors, none of which will be improved by fining parents.

DannyUK Wed 22-Jan-14 18:58:37

Freakonomics covered something very similar once, saying that they found that the fine seemed to make people think it was ok to be late, as essentially they were now paying for that privilege.

Sparklingbrook Wed 22-Jan-14 19:00:18

I think at the DSs old school they would have liked to have fined parents for picking up the children late at home time.
Parents with Children at the Middle school 6 miles away (which finished at 3.55pm) were expected to get to the First School by 3pm. Wasn't possible. Plus the First School was a feeder school to the Middle. sad

HT suggested one parent went to get all the Middle School children and one did the First School as there was nobody to look after them after school for ten minutes.

We would be fined sad.

DS has SN and is a school refuser. I have had to drag him in at times and we are late at least twice a week.

Mrsrochesterscat Wed 22-Jan-14 19:13:26

It's a tricky one, I have been the parent with persistently late children. I was very depressed and struggled with working out how to do the most simple things - I even struggled to work out how to cook tea! I just felt so overwhelmed by life I didn't know where to begin! Whereas previously I was the super organised mum - I made everything from scratch, including the bread and pastry, perfectly tidy house, children were early for everything... At that point in time the fines would only have added to my feelings of worthlessness and incompetence, but would not have helped me work out how to get out of the house on time.

Thankfully, my depression abated with medication (once I realised I had not become an incompetent lazy mother, just ill)

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 22-Jan-14 19:23:52

3 of my children were 1:1 and not in the main classroom all 3 had a staggered start and leave time and use of a different entrance to avoid other kids and was by formal arrangement with the school.

Another parent could have seen me doing the school run at 9:40 and decided I was lounging in bed every morning,I wouldn't really give a flying fuck what they thought.

Same reason I wouldn't even notice what time other kids got to school

ArthursaidMartha Wed 22-Jan-14 19:42:25

School refusers and a mum with diagnosed depression would surely not be fined. I would like to think that if a school knew about a mum's depression they could put in steps to help.

I think people are deliberately misunderstanding this. It is not to punish those with genuine reasons for being late (for example in the article the school in question has opened its playground earlier so those who have to drop off children at other schools won't be late). This is to punish/deter those who just will not make the appropriate effort eg getting up earlier to get their children to school on time.

JillJ72 Wed 22-Jan-14 19:43:05

Adding a local flavour to this. Road networks are very good, catchment areas very tight. I can see how this can work - in this town - with these factors.

It would be interesting to know more about the persistent late arrivals, why, how far they are from the school.

And what factors will be taken into consideration, if work is done with children and parents to understand why and to help, if this is a last resort, if it's a black and white rule (and we know the shades of grey).

Certainly when my DS attended primary out of catchment the rule was persistent late arrival would lead to consideration about his ability to attend (he was late once in his whole primary years, due to an accident - a car pulled out into the side of ours).

LittleBabyPigsus Wed 22-Jan-14 19:48:06

I can see there being issues with teenagers who get themselves to school and undiagnosed issues. I had serious depression as a teenager but it was just dismissed as teenage laziness/angst.

AllDirections Wed 22-Jan-14 19:52:37

The persistent late arrivals at DDs school (quite a few in her class) walk to school and have parents who don't work. And it's not once or twice a week being late and it's not just a few minutes. It's 20-30 minutes late every single day. The parents are usually just ambling along chatting to each other and stopping off at the shop to buy sweets and drinks for the DC.

Custardo Wed 22-Jan-14 20:00:00

so if your secondary school child - who you get out of the house at 8am becuase you have to get to work - leaving them plenty of time to get to school, then decides to piss about playing football and misses registration I get a fine?

my worry is for those kids who don't have good parents, what happens then? get the shit kicked out of you?

Those who say things like "oh the traffic was bad and we have several kids to get to school" don't really have a good excuse for persistent lateness, but if we say fines are ok then I'm sure parents of school refusers will be fined and those with SN too.

Why wouldn't they? You can be taken to court and prosecuted for truancy even if you say "but there's nothing I can do to force them to go" so why would they not fine those same parents or the parents of children with SN?

I think people should be on time unless it's really impossible, but I also think that school used to be a service for the kids and not a way to score points with authorities by meeting arbitrary targets.

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 22-Jan-14 20:11:26

Why don't they have a good excuse?

My dds school is four ish miles away. I rely on buses. The bus to the school goes 40 mins before school starts so plenty of time. Unless there's an accident or major traffic.

Don't you dare say get an earlier bus. I leave the house at 7:20 as it is as I get a bus to the station.

AuntieStella Wed 22-Jan-14 20:20:00

"I think it's a great idea and it need to be rolled out nationally, with head teachers being able to apply their discretion when there are genuine reasons for being late such as SNs."

It's been the law since at least 1996 (late arrivals being marked as unauthorised), with fines for introduced in 2003.

There is discretion not to raise a fine (as there is with any unauthorised absence) and I'd hope it would be a matter for EWO in first instance.

I have several persistently late pupils in my class. None of them have particular reasons at all: just general lack of organisation, or odd priorities (eg one girl is late if mummy plaits her hair but is on time if she just has bunches!).

All would have been fined last term if this regime had been in place. Would it have made a difference? Who knows!

LittleBabyPigsus Wed 22-Jan-14 20:35:48

Custardo agreed. Many teenagers get themselves to school and it's not the parents' fault at all (and sometimes like in my case, not the pupils' fault either).

itsbetterthanabox Wed 22-Jan-14 20:58:10

I think it's a bad idea. Friends of mine at school just simply wouldn't go. If teenagers physically run away what can you do? The parents and teens need help but fining them will do nothing.

Mrsrochesterscat Wed 22-Jan-14 21:30:30

I ducked out after posting - my point was (very poorly put) I didn't realise I was depressed. I gradually found everything too much, my thoughts became jumbled and sluggish until eventually I was not even capable of the most basic things until I felt completely incapable of parenting (or even life). I didn't tell school I was struggling so they would not have made any exception with the fines. To be honest, I would have read them, felt determined to find a way to pay them off, become numb with worry and stuck my head in the sand.
How many parents really do not actually care if their children are late? Of course they care - if they didn't care why would they be taking their children in at all? I jut don't see fines as the way to go. A better response would be for the schools to highlight lateness as an indicator of other problems and working to support the children, rather than imposing abstract punishments.

mummymeister Wed 22-Jan-14 21:59:23

£60 fine is the same one as you get for going on unauthorised absence. I just don't agree with this heads discretion thing. sorry. of course kids shouldn't be late but this is going to put the most ridiculous pressure on the heads., they will spend the first hour or more each and every morning dealing with the late parents who they have marked as late who they are going to fine. really, really don't like this at all. and what of the people who cant pay the fines? lock them up for non payment. that's going to really foster parent /school relations.

LemonMousse Wed 22-Jan-14 22:37:12

The fines would be imposed for persistent lateness over a term surely, not for one off situations.

I let children in late every morning (if the classroom doors are closed they have to come to the main entrance) sometimes it's just after the bell and they make it in for registration, but more often it's later. Same faces every day.

Ours is a small Primary school (just over 100 pupils) and I can think of 8 families who are persistently late - 14 children in total! Three of those families are within walking distance, the other five come by car.

It does seriously disrupt lessons when children are wandering in at 9.30 when the teacher is half way through a mental maths or spelling test or has to recap for the late child.

Parents have been spoken to and it improves for a while then they fall back in to their old habits.

I can't imagine our HT being happy to fine but the threat would probably be enough.

Sparklingbrook Thu 23-Jan-14 07:40:54

Parents should let the school know if there are specific circumstances within the family that make persistent lateness a possibility surely?

I agree it must be very annoying for teachers to have the same pupils coming into lessons late every day for no obvious reason.

BabeRuthless Thu 23-Jan-14 07:58:30

The same parents who are consistently late at ds' school are the same people who bitch and moan about not being allowed to smoke/swear/bring rabid dogs onto the playground. This will just give them something else to moan about. Pretty much all the parents live within walking distance. I feel so bad for their kids seeing them being late every day.

expatinscotland Thu 23-Jan-14 08:05:59

Think it's a bad idea.

JustGettingOnWithIt Thu 23-Jan-14 08:06:09

Sparkling The trouble is sometimes H/T can consider the specific circumstances to be worse than the lateness. Parents struggling can be a bit between a rock and a hard place.
Theres an MN assumption that revealing problems results in help, not life being made worse.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 23-Jan-14 08:09:23

At first I thought it was a bad idea then I read you only get fined if you're late ten times in I think a term?

So now I think its a good idea. Dd is 12 and has never been late for school once. So while I accept it could happen very infrequently due to an unexpected traffic jam it shouldn't be happening ten times in a term.

When she was at primary it was the same kids and mums running through the gates five minutes late every morning. Get up earlier!

VivaLeBeaver Thu 23-Jan-14 08:14:26

And being persistently late like that isn't a good message for the kids beside the disruption.

I think it can show that maybe the parents don't value school too much. It also shows the kids that its ok to turn up late every day. Then when they start work are they going to be the ones who turn up late for work every morning?

The same people every morning saunter in 20 minutes late which when you work on a ward means you miss report and can mean the night staff go home late.

JustGettingOnWithIt Thu 23-Jan-14 08:18:54

It isn't always get up earlier though. Some parents have finely balanced situations, and have actually been at work a few hours by the time they use their morning break to get their child to school. It's not an entitlement so refusing a delivery, or telling a manager to stop yammering and let them go isn't an option.

They really don't want to be late, neither do they want to be late back at work and get hit that end either. It isn't alsways simple.

Ubik1 Thu 23-Jan-14 08:19:32

The more I hear about education in England the more glad I am that my children are not educated there.

I mean fines fir being late to school? ... Whatever happened to late detention? We were forced into the school cross country team if we were late more than three times...

VivaLeBeaver Thu 23-Jan-14 08:24:15

A parent using their break to go home and take the kid to school? Really?

Either the child is old enough to be left at home while the parent is at work in which case they're old enough to get to school. Or the child isn't old enough and should be with a child minder who takes them to school.

mummymeister Thu 23-Jan-14 08:27:17

why set it at 10 times a term? where has that figure come from then. has then been research to show if you are late 9 times in a term it isn't disruptive/damages education whereas 11 does. all of this is bonkers. the poor head will have the persistent offenders saying ah well yes it is 11 this term but you can count the day the hamster died/there was a big accident and the road was shut etc. H/T will just spend their whole time arguing the toss. they already know who these families are. they already know why its happening. they are professionals. support these families to get their kids to school on time. if they are given help and support and wont do it then fine them for every late arrival. and I ask again. what happens when they cant pay? jail them so their kids go in to care.

scaevola Thu 23-Jan-14 08:32:28

It'll be the HT who has set any '10 times a year' policy, so presumably is happy with their decision on when to refer to EWO or to LA for action with fines.

And I think Ubik1 is right to point out that it's what we "hear" about school. This policy has been around for 14 years, and fines for 11. There is a difference between the actual policy that has been running without causing chaos and strife for that long, and current party political agendas in discourse management.

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 23-Jan-14 08:32:44

With regards to supporting the smilies, you have schools who allow dropping off early , you have schools with ESP around care, schools giving kids breakfast despite everyone else having to pay for breakfast clubs,and of they really do only live five mins away and still can't make it despite school being open from 8:00 with free food then just exactly what is left for schools to do?? Go get the kids themselves???

There are some parents who are beyond a home and no fine will change that. Just means people who leave in time but get held up with traffic or accidents or buses not showing up are left out of pocket.

Onefewernow Thu 23-Jan-14 08:32:48

I'm against it.

For one, it's all a bit nanny state- the government should have more important things to think about.

Two- I suspect that a higher percentage of kids who are late are from disadvantaged homes and won't be able to pay- even if that isn't the case , some won't have the money. This will lead to school drop outs.

Three- kids most likely to be late are surely in secondary school. For these kids, parental influence isn't the issue. I have to work really hard and use a withdrawal of laptop privilege to get my youngest out of bed- the other two hop out. For those slightly "difficult" kids, it is the consequences for THEM which makes the difference, not consequences for their parents.

WooWooOwl Thu 23-Jan-14 08:33:12

There has to be a deciding line somewhere. 10 times is more than lenient.

Why should schools be expected to help and support parents in getting their children to school on time? I think that's crazy.

Parents have responsibility for their children, and getting your children to school on time is a basic parenting responsibility. We shouldn't have this attitude of expecting help and support to be given when parents can't do the most basic parenting, these adults need to take responsibility for the children they chose to have.

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 23-Jan-14 08:34:25

Oh god excuse awful typos


Wrap around care

wtf happened blush

expatinscotland Thu 23-Jan-14 08:34:55

True, Ubik. The culture of nannying and micro-managing and government interference is prevalent in so many ways here.

JustGettingOnWithIt Thu 23-Jan-14 08:50:35

Viva why do you say Really? Have you never met working lone parents who can't get child care to cover, in that sort of situation? I used to be one of them. Are you unaware of the small army of low paid early morning workers out there who make it possible for so many businesses and for that matter schools to be open?

I’m not saying it's ok for children to be late, I'm saying it's not necessarily laziness.

JustGettingOnWithIt Thu 23-Jan-14 08:54:41

I've realised you haven't understood that the child' with the parent at their work, looked after there, and arriving from there, not being left at home.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 23-Jan-14 10:30:19

No I didn't realise that you mean the child went to work with the parent first thing in the morning. Never come across that myself and if that's the case and its the only way the family can survive financially then the parent needs to go and talk to the HT and there needs to be some leeway.

However I would suspect that 99% of cases are not this genuine. The HT will know the difference.

The two parents I see late every morning are both SAHMs, one with 3 kids and one with 4 kids. I get that having that many kids must be a nightmare to get them ready but I'd repeat my sentiment that they need to get up earlier if that's the case.

JustGettingOnWithIt Thu 23-Jan-14 11:38:24

There's a fair amount of (usually primary/junior) school children accompanying LP's especially to early start commercial cleaning and catering jobs. The aim is to have either a long hour’s one with a break at the right time, or several with the last one as close to school as possible, and for a lucky few, one in the same school as their children.

HT''s aren't always supportive, though some are very wise to peoples lives and parents doing their damdest to change futures.

JustGettingOnWithIt Thu 23-Jan-14 11:40:16

PS not saying those are the parent's that are late, just explaining different worlds.

ReallyTired Thu 23-Jan-14 11:54:37

My son was late 10 times in one half term last year at his old primary school as he was a school refuser. He was taking twenty minutes to do what should ahve been a five minute walk as he was busy looking at the spiders and patterns in frost on the way to school.

The head teacher and I sat down and formulated a plan to get my son to school on time. Every time he was late I had an email to tell me what time he had arrived so I know how late he was. He also had a star chart if he managed to have six weeks with no lates.

I think that fines do have a place with parents who refuse to engage with the school or the local authority if they are struggling to get their children to school. My son's old head teacher told me that many parents simply didn't care and refused help.

cory Thu 23-Jan-14 11:59:52

Sparklingbrook Wed 22-Jan-14 18:34:10
"I think in some circumstances special dispensation should be allowed cory. Genuine medical reasons the school should be made aware of."

Yes, but what if the school is not cooperative? Dd's HT was forced to recognise that dd's medical condition was real in principle when several specialists wrote to him and even came into the school to speak to him. But he still refused to believe that there was a genuine problem on any one actual occasion - in other words, he thought dd was just using it as an excuse on that occasion. How could we prove that- we could hardly expect the consultant to be on call to come out to confirm that every single incident was genuine

If the HT had been able to fine us large amounts of money that would have money that could not have been spent on dd's treatment, chiropracter, taxi journeys to hospital appointments, wheelchair etc.

And what about the days when ds was late (at his different school, to which I also had to take him) because dd had just fallen down the stairs or had a panic attack during the school run? That money would also have had to come out of dd's treatment budget.

There must be countless children who already struggle with the meltdowns of their SN siblings- this is just another way they will end up losing out.

I am generally unhappy with a principle that allows individuals like HT, with no training and no accountability to anybody else to take large sums of money off people.

What nobody has asked is- what happens if the HT does not know the difference? If the HT would prefer not to know the difference? If the HT secretly hopes that the parents with the difficult child or the awkward problems will take their child out of his school and (miraculously) find a place somewhere else so that SN and social difficulties and chronic illness become Somebody Else's Problem. What are the checks on a system that gives so much power to the HT?

ReallyTired Thu 23-Jan-14 14:44:20

If there are fines then the needs to be some kind of appeal, otherwise you have a situation where the HT becomes judge, jury and metaphorically - excecutioner!

I feel that fines should be a last restort for families who are not prepared to engage in any kind of dialogue.

checkmates Fri 24-Jan-14 13:45:21

In practice the system probably wont amount to much It is a poor idea

mummymeister Fri 24-Jan-14 13:55:55

there are lots of poor ideas out there checkmates particularly in relation to education yet they still happen.

LemonMousse Fri 24-Jan-14 14:20:00

I feel that fines should be a last resort for families who are not prepared to engage in any kind of dialogue

I think you hit the nail on the head there Really and in 99% of schools I would imagine there'll be a whole load of dialogue and intervention from the EWO before any fines are even considered. That would be good practice on the HT's part and would definitely be the scenario in our school.

I do know that some people make out as though the HTs are 'out to get them' - as if all they aim for is to make people's lives as difficult and unpleasant as possible. Surely no HT worth their salt wants to alienate parents?

Swanhildapirouetting Fri 24-Jan-14 18:22:19

*.50 is a bottleneck outside our school. Lots of people crossing the road, lots of cars backed up. At our primary, the parents driving, who did not want their children to be late, always dropped them off in the road outside the school so they could run in before the gate closed. It was extremely dangerous. But faced with the choice of their child getting into the playground before the bell went, or finding that elusive parking space and missing the bell, most parents choose to park on yellow lines, zig zags or in driveways opposite the school.

I think the priority has to be that children come to school safely and happily and a frazzled parent dropping a screaming child who has been dragged up the road , or cars parked in places which block pedestrians are all far worse scenarios than a child being five minutes late.

There are all sorts of reasons why at the last minute children make you late however much time you leave - toileting, lost items, tantrums, squabbles, anxieties, tripping up on the pavement even. The children don't want to be late, but if they are, it shouldn't be a source of shame and anxiety for THEM, which in our house sometimes meant the child refused to go to school at all. Dd was so worried about being late that she would say things like I'm late now, I cannot go to school or I'll have to sign the late register. (this was at 7) Ds2 has ASD and I realised that for him getting to school was a flash point, so the less fuss about whether we are going to be late or not the better. If he went to school happily that was the main thing. When I stopped mentioning the time he was so much happier and we usually got to school on time as a result.

Lateness is far better than absence.

Dd's Secondary has a very strict rule on lateness. If you are late you spend a hour in detention when you arrive at school and an hour after school. I remember thinking this utterly ridiculous - who in their right mind would attend school if there was the remotest possibility of being late due to the vagaries of transport etc. No you would decide to take the day off "sick". Much easier than making the effort to go in and be 5 mins late, and be punished. (disclaimer - dd's school is an hour away by 2 buses - She is NEVER LATE and leaves very very early to be sure not to miss the deadline)

My children are all extremely punctual now at Secondary.

Vidaloca Fri 24-Jan-14 19:00:22

DD (14) has been late 10 times already this term. As long as it is us and not her paying the fine she'll have no problem with it.

I am never late myself and she was never late in primary. Ever.

I dread her school doing this. :-(

LondonBus Fri 24-Jan-14 19:19:32

But parent who are having a bad morning will phone their DC in sick.

Ds2 has been late because he was consripated. Other reasons for being late either am or pm include:toddler ds repeatedly climbing out of his carseat, a sudden change in weather.... it was raining and suddenly the temp dropped the water on the ground froze andit began to snow heavily. The entire town ground to a halt. Ds1 school refusing, causing the younger to be late ( if the schools hadn't been understanding about that I would have home educated)

Then there was the time the Boden sale started.....I totally should have been fined for that!

WillBeatJanuaryBlues Fri 24-Jan-14 19:29:03

* We shouldn't have this attitude of expecting help and support to be given when parents can't do the most basic parenting, these adults need to take responsibility for the children they chose to have*

woowoo I agree. I am awful late riser used to be a night owl and was late to school for various reasons..however when had DC I knew I would simply have to get act together. I used to hate going into school late, we did have family problems and I think repeated lateness showed this.


we have all struggled with toddlers and weather, and un expected things but if you leave with enough time in the morning, they should not affect you enough to be late ten times, if they do, you have the problem and be aware of how your child will feel.

walking into school ashamed because mum had to shop at boden. sad

WillBeatJanuaryBlues Fri 24-Jan-14 19:30:26

BTW a good tip for car seat escapees is distraction, so they don't think about climbing out..

TrinityRhino Fri 24-Jan-14 19:32:41

the risk of a fine is not going to stop my joints hurting, my utter desperation at trying to face the day or my exhaustion

FanFuckingTastic Fri 24-Jan-14 19:36:02

I'm glad my children's school were a bit more understanding of the reasons why we were late to school. Getting my daughter to go anywhere was a nightmare, especially because I am physically disabled, plus she didn't sleep and was difficult all night. I had to factor in getting myself ready, getting my mobility scooter out, her wrist strap or harness on (which could take a while depending on how difficult she was being), and then getting to the school without any incidents.

Sometimes it just didn't happen, if I was going to be very late, I'd call them.

Once I'd organised care for myself, I had my carer get them ready and drop them off, but I worked bloody hard to get my kids to school on time, I managed fairly well, but I know I wasn't perfect.

Vidaloca Fri 24-Jan-14 19:37:48

Will what are your thoughts about families like mine who have dysfunctional teenagers that we CANNOT get out the house in the morning no matter how early we get up?

Do you think we should still be fined?

ShadowOfTheDay Fri 24-Jan-14 19:44:42

my sis is a lone parent of 3 kids - one goes to a different primary school... she didn't choose for that to happen.... they are all under 6....

she varies which one she gets to late each week, but it is just not possible to get to 2 places 15 min apart and get them in the door at the same time..

BohemianGirl Fri 24-Jan-14 19:46:22

I listened to the radio debate this morning.

HT stated (and I agree with her) the working parents get their children to school on time .... parents who dont work are the one who have an eclectic sense of time.

And you know damned well they are talking about mainstream children - no need for the usual SEN brigade to waft in, you are excused by virtue of DLA receipt, and covered by disability legislation

Vidaloca Fri 24-Jan-14 19:59:49

Bohemian - what are your thoughts about my situation. No SN. Just a child who won't leave the house on time despite us trying everything.

TrinityRhino Fri 24-Jan-14 20:00:08

well I don't have a 'dla receipt' so I'm fucked

The SEN brigade??? Wow! biscuit

I suppose that's me then. I've come wafting in to say that as I work night shifts, and can't leave until 8am, often later, then have to get my DD ready and take her to school, she's often late. Nothing to do with her SEN's. It's my job, and I'm sure other night workers would face the same problems. I can't excuse her by virtue of DLA receipt as not all parents claim it.

Greydog Fri 24-Jan-14 21:23:35

We live near a primary school, and I see so many mums strolling along, late - never any urgency to get into school. Judging by their appearances (and I know I shouldn't) if they spent less time putting on their make up, doing their hair etc, they might get the youngsters to school on time. It's bad manners to be late, but sometimes you just are. I would think (hope?) that a school would use discretion before arbitary fines tho'.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Fri 24-Jan-14 21:51:52

Bohemian if you even believe half the stuff you just wrote in that post, you really are a fucking idiot.

WillBeatJanuaryBlues Fri 24-Jan-14 22:03:35

I dont know vid, are your teenagers disabled in any way or literally dysfunctional, I wouldn't know your personal circs but lots of teenagers are dysfunctional, and I am not sure what letting them get away with not going to school is going to achieve in the long run?

I guess thats the bottom line, you cant get them into needs to be addressed and looked at because surely it cannot go on?

LondonBus Fri 24-Jan-14 22:29:32

I have also been the first parent on the playground, over half an hour early sometimes because I needed to allow for tantrums. That seemed to upset school staff far more, seeing a sobbing mum and child so early.

And I can assure you all no child of mine has ever walked in ashamed for being lategrin - I know because I went through to the classroom with them and my dc were welcomed with opened arms. smile

I work in a primary school and welcome late parents and children with "good morning, well done!". Because I know the last half hour has been stressful for them. Obviously I'm not a HT!

Oh and the weather incident meant I was ten mins late for pick up, but many people took hours to go a few miles. DH to finally arrived home having walked home in a suit and slip on shoes at 10 pm

Sometimes you have to take the slow route. Driving with a toddler not on a car seat is more dangerous than being late. Calmly delivering your child to school in pjs is preferable to shouting at the and bring late.

With hind sight I should have been late rather than deliver my 8yo to school mid tantrum. Schools don't
much like tantruming children.

WillBeatJanuaryBlues Fri 24-Jan-14 22:36:30

Sometimes you have to take the slow route

I agree that there will be occasions when a child has to be late because of them or the parents. But really London you think you will be late ten times?

On the other hand, imagine if we all took that attitude and just muddled along with the

Sometimes you have to take the slow route

Sorry teacher just another day where 30 parents had to take the slow route....soz.

Mine wont put her shoes on, yes mine hid her school clothes, mine was sick over her school clothes and mine would not get in the car, and mine was too tired to get up, we just had to take the slow route...confused

WillBeatJanuaryBlues Fri 24-Jan-14 22:38:46

Its also not fair on the other children in the class.

I think sometimes you have to accept life with small children can be challenging and hard but if you cant make it in on time on a regular basis sometimes you have to look in the mirror and really ask, why. Other people with far more extenuating circs manage it, disabled parent, public transport, other issues, they manage it, why cant you.

LondonBus Fri 24-Jan-14 22:39:34

Oh, and to clarify I didn't have to shop at boden. But I made friends with another parent when I dared to actually write that excuse on the late book smile ( It made a change from the usual " appointment" I usually wrote on the HT's instruction after I broke down in tears one day when told, not asked, told by office staff to write the reason for being late) The HT knew what was really going on.

LondonBus Fri 24-Jan-14 22:56:53

One day we were late because as we got out of the car DS decided he couldn't go to school "because it was PE" Turned out he had decided to put a pair of DS2's pull ups on instead of pants (he was 7yo!) At the time we were renting a house and lived quite a way from the school, so we drove to sainsburys ( dragging toddler and baby) to buy pants. By the time we got to school I had a cats bum mouth. When I explained to HT at the end of the day what ds has been late she nearly cried with laughter. I still am not amused.

LondonBus Fri 24-Jan-14 23:05:39

I love this "Other people manage it so can you attitude"

Do you hear that everybody on a diet or wanting to earn 3x what they do now?

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 24-Jan-14 23:06:50


grin at the HT

Nice to hear someone realised that occasionally "life" just gets in the way. smile

TrinityRhino Fri 24-Jan-14 23:10:45

I think I love you London

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 24-Jan-14 23:12:05

And london I agree. I am not responsible for accidents, cut buses, traffic etc

I leave the house at 7:20 wtf is left to do.

Dd is very very rarely late but it's out of my hands when it is.

Alright for some though isn't it, ten mins down the road from school where they can skip on down to the playground in plenty of time.

starlight1234 Fri 24-Jan-14 23:38:59

At DS's school it is the same people late every day and as annoying as it is as in 3 years my DS has never been late once...I really hate the idea if we can't solve the problem we will fine people...

This seems to be the governments approach to everything these days...

SaucyJack Fri 24-Jan-14 23:44:56

you have to look in the mirror and really ask, why.

I should imagine those of us with children who don't want to go to school and therefore won't get out of bed/dressed without a fist fight know perfectly bloody well why we're late (!)

Doesn't actually solve the problem.

SinisterBuggyMonth Sat 25-Jan-14 00:21:57

Christ, if this had been in when I was at school I would have bankrupted my poor mum.

If they are really so desperate to squeeze cash out of parents why not fine bullies instead (the reason I was too scared to go to school most mornings)?

Vidaloca Sat 25-Jan-14 05:03:23


School does 'address' dd's punctuality issues, as do we. But it's quite low down on the list as in the past year we have also had to 'address' outright school refusal, self harming and her violence at home. The punctuality is a problem but not one we or the school can find a solution to at present.

The school has been great so far and hasn't imposed sanctions (which would escalate dd's problems and possibly end in permanent exclusion). But mandatory fines on us? You might as well throw a live grenade into the house for the grief that will result at home from this.

JingJangro Sat 25-Jan-14 06:38:20

So glad not in the UK at the moment.

The fines, and the constant demands for fund-raising, volunteering, cakes and costumes from schools, all at short notice, would do my head-in!

FanFuckingTastic Sat 25-Jan-14 08:25:39

I would have welcomed anyone to my life to try it for a week and not been late occasionally. The fact that I managed to make it on time more often was something of a personal achievement, by that point I'd not had any sleep for four years.

I would spend mornings and evenings on the phone to social services asking them how I could make sure my daughter was safe because I couldn't physically control her. I spent time on here begging for help. I put her back into a buggy, I spent money I didn't have on taxis, I did the battle twice a day until I got help, I drove myself right to the edge of a breakdown before I asked the school for help trying to manage on my own. Eventually there was help, but everyone could see how much I struggled, the school even funded before and afterschool pickups for a while to give me a break.

This is all without a diagnosis of any sort, although the school were working along the lines of her have SEN by way of behavioural issues. You put yourself through seven shades of hell because "other people can manage, so why can't you".

Now she's with her father, she's at school on time most of the time, but I had to give her up to achieve that, and I'm sorry but that doesn't always feel like the best thing to me. People always seem to think people who are late aren't trying, trust me, some of us are trying and simply failing due to circumstances.

And damn it I said I wasn't going to get emotional, but I cared about not getting her to school on time. When I could see other people who didn't give a shit and I was getting lumped in with them, it really upset me, because people didn't see the effort I was going to to try. Fines wouldn't discriminate between that either, and it would have been just another extra bill to fund during the time between my daughter starting school and getting a diagnosis. Which she still doesn't have years later.

I'm not part of any brigade, and I am not piling in. I'm probably projecting guilt and feeling offended for nothing.

niceguy2 Sat 25-Jan-14 19:14:38

I'm on the fence on this one. On the one hand I do think that there should be some sanctions for those parents who continually cannot get their kids to school on time. 10 times in 12 weeks is a LOT of times to be late. There's simply no excuse for being late so many times.

However in reality the very people who are consistently late are those who really don't give a toss. And I can't see a 'fine' making any difference. They'll just plead poverty and get off like they always do.

The reason I dislike it though is the message this idea and others are sending out to parents across the UK. Namely that you may be the parent but schools know better than you and can punish you if you don't comply. Personally I think it's a very dangerous message to start to send and is the proverbial thin end of the wedge.

Wherediparkmybroom Sat 25-Jan-14 19:44:01

I think it's a great idea! The same parents are late again and again, I work full time and have to get the children out of the house by 8.25 if I'm to be in time for school, so I get up earlier I do think in many cases parents just can't be bothered.

ReallyTired Sat 25-Jan-14 19:44:21

"However in reality the very people who are consistently late are those who really don't give a toss. And I can't see a 'fine' making any difference. They'll just plead poverty and get off like they always do."

I would like the option of community service for low income parents.

Commander6 Sat 25-Jan-14 19:50:41

I started off thinking no, but now I think yes.
I think teachers and most parents know who would be the ones getting the fines initially. There are obvious contenders in most schools.
Would probably stop 50% in the first year, as a rough estimate.

ShadowOfTheDay Sun 26-Jan-14 08:31:42

take the time to find out WHY people are consistently late and sometimes you will be surprised or shocked.....

you know siblings are not automatically sent to the same school ? (if start time is the same for young kids HOW does a single parent do it?) ...

how do you FORCE a 14 stone 6'5 boy to get to school?

if the child is a carer as well as going to school and they are helping their mother to get up before going... what if it is just a bad day.... what if those bad days are often..

WHY would you force a teenage girl with self harm issues to face the bullies who wait at the school gate with school doing nothing about it?

one of your kids has constipation due to bowel damage during an operation and is often sitting on the loo at school time - do you drag them off?

You can arrive by bus at one school here 1hr and 4min early (with no where to wait) or 4 min early...the bus is often late... just a bit... but enough....

These are all issues I have become aware of in my kids' friends during their 9 years at school so far... we are never late... but we have never had to deal with any 1 of these issues... thankfully.

ReallyTired Sun 26-Jan-14 22:01:35

You can play the violins all you like, but it is up to parents who struggle to get children to school on time to seek help and engage with the school. The majority of parents who are consistantly late are just f*cking lazy and deserve to punished.

Ds' head teacher told me that parents were often abusive on the phone and refused to attend meetings about their children's lateness. Schools can only help with issues ShadowOfTheDay if they know. An educational welfare officer can help families in challenging situations.

How can schools help families in challenging circumstances if the parents will not have dialogue with the head/ Schools often run breakclubs to help parents in the situation of having two children at different schools. The pupil premium can be used in cases of hardship to pay for a breakfast club place.

My son was late ten times in a half term. The school were helpful as we engaged with them and formulated a plan to get ds to school on time. Together we improved his punctuality. (He was a school refuser who had severe anxiety at the time.)

I think its unfair to punish parents who are trying their best and engaging with the school. However the needs to be a bit of stick for those who frankly can't be arsed to get out of bed.

cory Sun 26-Jan-14 22:32:28

BohemianGirl Fri 24-Jan-14 19:46:22

"And you know damned well they are talking about mainstream children - no need for the usual SEN brigade to waft in, you are excused by virtue of DLA receipt, and covered by disability legislation"

If you think everyone who has an autistic child or a child with severe anxiety problems or a child with chronic pain will be in repeipt of DLA, then you are living in cloud cuckoo land.

It's been said that you can't take one child to school early while you go drop off the other one. That wasn't a problem in my day, but if it is now then it needs to be addressed first.

Another issue seems to be that you have to go to a school that's far from your home. If it were up to me that would stop too. There should be a state school with enough places within a reasonable distance. If there isn't because the nearest schools are catholic or whatever then that is part of the problem.

Schools should be schools and open to anyone. If someone wants to run a special interest school then that should be in addition to the state school and entirely unfunded.

I'm against any fines, but someone suggested that the parents of bullies should be fined. If fining parents is such wonderful idea then yes let's start with that since it will be the cause of many kids being reluctant to go in at all.

FanFuckingTastic Mon 27-Jan-14 01:52:41

Actually we were in constant dialogue with the school about things. I was having regular meetings with the Well Being team and they were helping me to fill out DLA forms, find support for myself and organise it. While I was doing that, they understood about the lateness, and as I said even put on a pickup before school for the kids to go to breakfast club.

There are parents who do care and parents who don't. And as I said, a fine doesn't differentiate.

NigellasDealer Mon 27-Jan-14 02:12:33

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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