Parents in England who don't send kids back to school in September face fines

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Parents in England who don't send kids back to school in September face fines

Parents in England who refuse to send their children back to school in September will be fined, the Prime Minister has warned.

The lockdown has seen school closures for safety since March which have extended into and through the summer break.

But Boris Johnson says that when schools reopen, attending school will be mandatory for all school-age children adding, “It’s the law.”

As education is devolved, governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland may decide to offer more flexibility.

During the pandemic, fines which are levied on parents who keep children out of school have effectively been suspended.

But the PM has described now education as being “a massive problem” during lockdown in an interview with the Mail on Sunday.

And even throughout the period when virtual classes have been taking place in lieu of physical classroom time, concerns have been raised that schoolchildren are missing out on key education, reports TeesideLive.

In the interview, the PM said: “We need to get the kids back into school.

“I want all pupils back in school in September.”

When asked whether it would be compulsory he replied: “Yes. It’s the law.”

The concerns that children are missing out on important education have been balanced by fears expressed by teaching unions about spreading coronavirus among children and staff.

But during the interview, Mr Johnson took a swing at those unions, saying those opposed to the wider reopening of schools should ‘take their responsibilities seriously’.

Mr Johnson said: “It’s the kids from the poorer families who aren’t going back, and so you are entrenching social injustice.”

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson echoed MR Johnson’s comments on Monday (June 29).

He told LBC: “It is going to be compulsory for children to return back to school unless there’s a very good reason, or a local spike where there have had to be local lockdowns.

“We do have to get back into compulsory education as part of that, obviously fines sit alongside that.

Parents in England who don't send kids back to school in September face fines 1

“Unless there is a good reason for the absence then we will be looking at the fact that we would be imposing fines on families if they are not sending their children back.”

Last week Mr Williamson promised to get children back to school in September by doubling the 15-child limit on primary school class sizes and ditching requirements for teachers to enforce the new ‘one metre plus’ social distancing which comes into effect from July 4.

That will allow classes to return to around 30.

At present, primary school children who have returned to the classroom are confined to ‘bubbles’ of 15 and are not allowed to interact with children in other bubbles.

The suggestion is that schools will instead use ‘bubbles’ of children who should not mix with other groups to contain the spread of any virus and will focus on cleaning and hygiene, according to The Telegraph.

School leaders said the government’s plans are ‘pure fantasy’.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), told a national newspaper there isn’t enough space in many classrooms for effective social distancing.

“We need a proper strategy to bring children back into schools and colleges based in reality and on public health guidance,” he said.

The National Education Union have set five tests which it says must be met before it can back a full repening on schools.

They include much lower numbers of Covid-19 cases; a national plan for social distancing and appropriate PPE for staff; comprehensive access to regular testing; a protocols to test a whole school or college when a case occurs and for isolation to be strictly followed; and better protection for vulnerable staff, or staff or pupils with vulnerable family members.

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