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Penalties for unauthorized absences in UK schools are now also being imposed on tardiness.
In 2013, the UK Department for Education imposed guidelines on penalizing unauthorized absences. Under these guidelines, students can be absent only if they are sick or if they received authorization from the school’s head teacher.
The guidelines became a subject of controversy when a parent refused to pay a £60 fine for taking his daughter to Florida without asking the school’s permission. After the case was taken to court, he lost and was compelled by the Supreme Court to pay £2,000.
Recently, the guidelines were expanded to include penalties for tardiness. Now, several schools around the United Kingdom are also imposing fines on parents if their children come to school late.
In some schools in Essex and Wessex County, parents can be fined from £60 to £120 if their children frequently arrive at school late. In Warwickshire County, parents will also be fined if a child misses the roll call.
The expansion of the guidelines garnered mixed reactions. One supporter pointed out that the penalties for tardiness are meant to give the students the best possible education. Another supporter argued that punctuality will help students develop skills they can use to excel in their future jobs.
On the other hand, a critic of the guideline said that it shows how some authorities are unaware of the situation in some schools. She said that many families are working hard to balance getting to work, bringing one child to a school and another to a different school, and having to go through heavy traffic every day.