Parents face fines over excluded children

Parents could be fined up to £1,000 if their children are caught hanging around on the streets after being excluded from school.

Schools secretary Ed Balls announced the new penalty today as part of a government attempt to force parents to take responsibility for their child’s behaviour.

Parents will be fined £50 if their child is found in a public place without a good reason in the first five days after being excluded. If this is not paid within 42 days, parents could be prosecuted and fined £1,000.

Mr Balls said: “It is important that parents take a central role when a child is excluded – making sure they are at home working, rather than treating the exclusion as a holiday or an excuse to wander the streets.”

He called on parents to work with head teachers to improve their child’s behaviour.

Mr Balls continued: “Schools can only do so much in isolation. Parents have to be responsible for instilling right and wrong too.

“Our measures help to build strong and supportive partnerships between parents and teachers that will create a more united front against poor behaviour.

“I want heads to engage with parents, including using parenting contracts at an early stage so that schools and parents are able to work together to prevent bad behaviour from escalating.”

Head teachers will be able to demand parents sign contracts as a condition of admission, setting out the standard of behaviour their child must maintain

In extreme cases, where parents are actively undermining the school’s discipline procedures, head teachers will be able to obtain parenting orders through Court.

The Conservatives welcomed the measures but warned they were not a comprehensive answer to school discipline.

Shadow children’s minister Michael Gove: “Let’s not kid ourselves that these measures, welcome as they are, do anything like enough to solve the behaviour problem in our schools.

“You can’t have a proper discipline policy unless heads are free to exclude disruptive pupils without being second-guessed.

“And children who’ve been excluded shouldn’t be left to sink or swim. They need a tough love regime to turn round their behaviour and get their lives back on track.”

David Cameron has called for the abolition of appeal panels, which allow children to challenge a head’s decision to exclude them.