fines for non school attendence
Hazelnutlatteplease · 17/11/2020 18:42
Anyone actually been fined? I'm thinking of keeping DD home as Covid has now thoroughly hit her school and it really doesn't feel safe. I would rather be honest about it but not if it cost me for every week I keep her off. Anyone in the same situation?
DumplingsAndStew · 17/11/2020 18:46
Nope, my kids are still at school, despite there being cases at their school (actually DC2 is off ill, but they'd be at school otherwise).
We don't get fined anyway.
Hazelnutlatteplease · 17/11/2020 18:59
Just to clarify I dont need any commentaries on the rights and wrong of keeping kids home atm. That decision has been made. Just trying to work out how best to do it
noblegiraffe · 17/11/2020 20:16
Is she or you clinically vulnerable? There might be a discussion to be had with the school if so.
NullcovoidNovember · 17/11/2020 20:26
hazel - how hard is hard...
I'm sure there must be legal hooks about duty of care and health and safety and safeguarding...
Imagine the court case, it would go on for years, how could the LA prove your dc is safe in school?
Its incredulous to think of the minutia of a cake sale h and s form....and yet here we are being forced to send dc into school full time with the most lax safety measures in place.
Porcupineinwaiting · 17/11/2020 20:29
How long would you like to keep her off for? If just for a couple of weeks, just lie. If it's more than that Inthink you'll have to fess up.
Tinyhumansurvivalist · 17/11/2020 20:30
If you are in England then unless she is ill then yes you risk being fined and even taken to court for her lack of attendance. If they feel like it they are able to give custodial sentences.
You may be able to argue mitigating circumstances if someone in her immediate household bubble is classed as extremely vulnerable but otherwise you will face the same penalties as you would if covid wasn't around.
Porcupineinwaiting · 17/11/2020 20:31
@NullcovoidNovemberI think that arguement only holds true if you can show that your child is at particular risk from catching COVID. Schools are always rife with minor infectious diseases but you cant use that as a reason to take your child out for extended periods.
TW2013 · 17/11/2020 20:43
Well I doubt that they would know whether you had actually been tracked and told to self isolate or if you just declared that you needed to self isolate.
NullcovoidNovember · 17/11/2020 20:46
Schools are always rife with minor infectious diseases but you cant use that as a reason to take your child out for extended periods.
^^ I guess that would depend on the classification of covid as a minor disease and the impact on the rest of the family of a minor disease.
And if this is a minor disease why the hell are we doing all this to squash it.
Porcupineinwaiting · 17/11/2020 21:03
It's a minor disease to the majority of children, which is the point here. We are trying to squash it due to its affect on adults and the vulnerable.
3littlewords · 17/11/2020 21:22
I would just be honest with the school maintain contact so they know why you are keeping your dc off. Both you and them don't need the hassle of going down other avenues (safe guarding) to try and establish contact and reasons for absence
Fileexplorerrrr · 17/11/2020 21:42
I’m keeping my year 7 child off. Myself and partner are classed as vulnerable, so is my Mum who has ‘bubbled’ with us.
We are working from home to minimise risk and have decided to keep our child off too, especially after hearing all sorts of stories about what is going on on the bus and at school etc.
Schools in our area are rife with COVID and everyday, more and more cases are being reported.
There isn’t one school in our local vicinity that hasn’t reported a case now.
I have been completely honest with school and have been told that whilst they cant authorise the absence, we won’t be fined.
My child has been off 7 days now as I was having sleepless nights over it and so were they as they were petrified of bringing it home with them.
I’m strict on the work they’re doing at home and due to another class in their year being off, a lot of the work is being posted on the online portal anyway.
I do feel guilty and worry about the long term consequences of what we are doing but I’ll deal with that if and when the time comes.
At the moment, I’m doing what I feel is best for now.
I’ll see how things go over the next few weeks.
Good luck with what you decide to do
butterry · 17/11/2020 21:50
Mine didn’t go back after half term. The school call every other day to check on how it’s going and if returning and we keep replying that we will continue to keep home for at least the duration of the lockdown. It’s classified as unauthorised absence but council have not been in touch yet so I doubt it would be a quick process for a fine if they do.
Understandingnotignorance · 17/11/2020 21:50
From what I understand they can only fine once for that half term. Anyhow you are allowed up to 5 days off initially. So if two weeks were self isolating, the third was unauthorised only then would they start proceedings and then it is a one off £60 fine increasing to £120 if unpaid. That is my understanding of it anyhow although it would be good to hear from someone who has personally undergone this process.
Hazelnutlatteplease · 17/11/2020 22:27
Oh its all a bit complex
We have DS at home who was classed as medically vulnerable but im not sure whether still is. Back in September the doctors "wouldn't go against govenment guidance that every child should be in", so he's already deregistered and home ed (And thriving so it is a happy permanent decision). I haven't spoken to Doctors since cos DS has been stable medically and reintro of shielding has really changed anything.
I'd like to be honest with school but im worried if i am and it does prove problematic im back down the dereg route. Home ed definitely isn't right long term for DD so I'm wary of doing something that feels too permenant. I want her back in either once cases subside at school or, maybe after the first wave of vacinations and there is less pressure on the NHS
I could say we've been contacted by track and trace and have to isolate. That would at least give us 2 weeks breathing space to see what happens next. But honestly I'd like to get out for our daily walk and am worried we might be spotted.
I have no idea what to do
Hazelnutlatteplease · 17/11/2020 22:29
Just reading all the cross posts. I took a long time writing
MrGruWeLoveYou · 17/11/2020 22:30
Hi. I'm an EWO. We are not fining parents for choosing to keep their children off but we are monitoring those families closely and may change our position in the near future but then we are only likely to fine after very careful consideration of each individual case. Nationally most local authorities are doing the same thing, with some variation either way. I would sway you away from the previous poster who warned you about custodial sentences. Yes under the law it's possible and has happened but it is incredibly rare. Let's be honest no magistrate in the land is going to send someone to prison for not wanting to send their child to school in a pandemic. Apologies for being so blunt but I do the job, I've done the prosecutions, I've stood up in court. It's incredibly unlikely.
MrGruWeLoveYou · 17/11/2020 22:31
My advice would be to be completely honest with your school if you choose to keep her off. Don't create a mess by saying something that isn't true x
Elvesinquarantine · 17/11/2020 22:32
Under 90 % attendance risks a fine at our school. I was honest and took 2 weeks off for holiday this year. Yet I could have lied and said self isolating... Imo parents should manage their dc how they feel comfortable with during this time. I have 2 dc in the vulnerable band. Their exams and job prospects aren't high in my thinking atm.
NullcovoidNovember · 17/11/2020 22:37
Mr gru.. What would trigger you to look at families closely?
I'm thinking of taking them out from 14th
Porcupine.... How could that ever legally be argued?
What is one person's suffering to another's?
What is re risk of your dc being the one who doesn't get a mild illness?
MrGruWeLoveYou · 17/11/2020 22:43
@NullcovoidNovember 14th December? That's just a few days, I would just give your reasons to the school. They may authorise, they may not. I personally think schools may well be closed by then but that's my personal guess and not anything official I've been told or heard!
We would ask schools if they have safeguarding concerns for these families, if they do we may make contact. If it is a family already known to us for attendance issues we are also mindful of that. In my LA if there is a child who is or was extremely vulnerable then we are not pursuing that at the moment. If it is a parent who is extremely vulnerable it depends a bit on circumstances- some people really are in difficult situations. We are contacting families to discuss it with them and trying to support - some families are very anxious and respond well to more information about the safety measures put in place at school etc. If no one is vulnerable and they are taking the piss then yes we do tell them they are not meeting their legal responsibility and may be at risk of legal action. It's really case by case. Which is how we have always worked.
Hazelnutlatteplease · 17/11/2020 22:45
thank you all for your comments!!!
Thank you all for your comments. I think I'm just going to be honest about it. I hate lying so telling the truth was my instinctive choice.
@MrGruWeLoveYou thank you thats really very good to know. I'm going to keep full records of her at home learning so i can show she's following a full time curriculum. I know it helps the home ed officials, would that help dealing with you official type people too?
MrGruWeLoveYou · 17/11/2020 22:54
Always tell the truth. We really just want to support people contrary to popular belief. I'd much rather someone told me the truth even if it was a holiday to Disney world than let me chase round after them worrying if their child was dead under the floorboards. Sounds flippant but that's the reality for us. Without knowing detail, it sounds like you have some legitimate concerns with a child who was considered very vulnerable so you have to do what is best for you, share your decision and reason with the school.
Re the home schooling it doesn't make a lot of difference to us as your child is registered on a school roll therefore they are expected to attend, you aren't formally home educating. If your child is on a school roll, they are legally required to attend regularly and punctually.
However, it's in their best interests so definitely keep it up. If your EWOs come knocking on the door, you are much better off to be able to say you were honest and are doing some useful activity with your children than not. Finally, IF you ended up in court (highly unlikely, almost certain that you won't, but if...) the magistrates would look much more Favourably on a parent who has chosen to take their children out but can at least evidence that they have done their very best to keep up with some education while they're off. I hope that at least gives you some peace of mind, in a worst case scenario. Xx
Hazelnutlatteplease · 17/11/2020 22:54
I personally think schools may well be closed by then but that's my personal guess
Yes i think so too. I can't see how they can stay open much longer. I pulled DC out a week before the first lockdown because the government said they weren't going to lockdown. Then they changed their minds. DD said it would be a laugh if the schools closed in a weeks time again this time. Government seems to be doing to schools what they did care homes in the first wave.
We've been really lucky as we've been one of the least hit part of the country so we're literally only needing to make decisions now. But i was emailed by the school an extra 6 positive cases in one day today. We only had our first case Friday. Exponential growth is a bugger.
Hazelnutlatteplease · 17/11/2020 22:56
I hope that at least gives you some peace of mind, in a worst case scenario.
Thank you!!! Yes massively. Read and definitely digested.
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