British Schools Begins Fining Parents When Children Arrive Late

In January, Holy Trinity School in Gravesend, Kent, introduced a new rule — parents will be fined £1 ($1.24) every five minutes (per child) if they fail to arrive at the school gates on time. The new policy also stipulated that the school will contact social services if a child is not picked up by 4 p.m.. If parents can't be contacted, children will be transferred into the care of local authorities. However, the penalty will only come into force if a child has been late three times. The move follows similar policies in other schools which have argued that their already stretched budgets can't cover paying teachers for extra hours, simply because parents aren’t keeping to the timetable. Some parents have expressed their fear that the penalties and threats will punish less-well off families who are already struggling to cover basic costs. Nevertheless, the school hasn't backed down, citing the fact that school ends at 3:30 p.m., but a significant number of children are still waiting to be picked up at 4 p.m. “When this occurs, a member of staff has to be paid overtime to supervisor those children,” explained principal Denise Gibbs-Naguar. By law, city councils across the UK are able to issue a fine of £60 ($74.33) per pupil, with that fee doubling if not paid within 21 days. After that, parents can be prosecuted for non-payment, and last year 19,518 were.