Truancy fines to be docked from parents’ benefits

The Prime Minister said: “We are determined to tackle the harm truancy does to a child’s chances in life”.


The tough measure could hit thousands of parents in the North East, where figures show almost 7,000 children missed 11 days of school or more in just one term.

The parents of children prone to truancy could have their child benefit docked if their fail to pay truancy fines.

The £60 penalty, which increases to £120 if unpaid after 21 days, will be made mandatory and will be clawed back through reductions in child benefit if unpaid after 28 days.

If families are not in receipt of child benefit but still refuse to pay the fine, new rules will allow officials to pursue them for the money through the courts.

Child benefit will be automatically docked when parents do not pay truancy penalties and local authorities will be under a new duty to pursue the payments.

It has taken Mr Cameron’s reforms three years to emerge as the Government’s expert adviser on behaviour, Charlie Taylor, developed the plan during coalition under Education Secretary Michael Gove.

However, the plans have been met with disapproval from the NASUWT teaching union.

However Mike Royal, the National Director of TLG, told Premier’s News Hour he was concerned: “By penalising those parents through the child benefit system it’s trying to solve a social problem with the wrong tool”.

He also announced that parents in England would have the right to request breakfast and after-school clubs or holiday care at their schools.

A total of 16,430 people in England were prosecuted for failing to ensure that a child went to school in 2014, which is the equivalent to around 86 cases for each day of the school year.

Schools will not be obliged to provide holiday care or “wraparound” clubs when asked, but will have to give reasons why if they do not grant requests from groups of parents or childcare providers.

Mr Cameron said the move would increase the supply of childcare places for the offspring of working parents outside school hours, allowing them to work longer hours if they choose to do so.


Transforming Lives for Good (TLG) was speaking after David Cameron announced the plans at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.

David Cameron