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A £60 fine if your child is late for school
Fines: Emerson Valley School Milton Keynes UK

Parents are being fined £60 each if their child turns up a few minutes late for lessons – and are being threatened with court if they fail to pay in time.

The strict measures have been introduced at one primary school where pupils are penalised if they miss registration ten times in a 12-week term.

Emerson Valley School, in Milton Keynes, says parents will get 21 days to pay their fines after which they double to £120 which has to be paid within 28 days.

It is the third school to adopt the system in the city where two penalty notices have been issued in the past year. The powers are available to any head teacher in the country but few are thought to have adopted them.

Chris McGovern, of the Campaign for Real Education, warned: ‘They could undermine relations between school and parents – the cornerstone of any school’s success.’

Emerson Valley, which is in special measures, said it hoped its stance would raise standards. The penalties are levied on each parent for each child who is late.

If parents refuse to pay, they could be punished in a magistrates’ court and incur more costs. But an Emerson Valley spokesman said: ‘The link between good attendance and pupils achieving well at school is clear.’

Milton Keynes Council said it had ‘a borough-wide policy in place’ although the decision on whether to use fines was left to each school. Most problems were resolved by issuing a warning letter, it added.

Netmums founder Siobhan Freegard said: ‘Children who are frequently late to school are often from chaotic family backgrounds. Taking money away from struggling parents could just make a bad situation worse.’

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