Rise in fines for children missing school in Cambridgeshire after £336,540 collected last year
PUBLISHED: 13:01 06 February 2020
The number of parents fined for their child missing school rose by more than half in Cambridgeshire last year.
The increase in penalties for parents saw the council make an extra £119,520, according to figures provided by The Knowledge Academy.
The data, released after a Freedom of Information request, shows the number of parents handed fixed penalty notices for an unauthorised school absence in Cambridgeshire rose from 4,101 in 2017/18 to 6,424 in 2018/19.
Asked why the number of fines may have risen so much in that time, Cambridgeshire County Council said it is "committed to high attendance from all pupils and take our statutory responsibility in this area very seriously".
And it said it changed its policy in 2017 to allow for a fine to be issued for a child's first unauthorised absence.
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The Knowledge Academy said the increase in Cambridgeshire was the fourth highest of all the county areas in England.
The number of people in Cambridgeshire who did not pay within the first 21 days, and so paid a higher charge of £120 instead of £60, also rose, from 73 to 90.
Those who did not pay within 28 days, prompting court proceedings, nearly doubled, from 292 people to 540.
Cambridgeshire County Council collected £336,540 last year, up from £217,020 the year before.
A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire County Council said: "We are committed to high attendance from all pupils and take our statutory responsibility in this area very seriously.
"In 2017 we amended our penalty notice code of conduct to state a parent can be issued a penalty notice for their child's first unauthorised absence at school.
"This update brings us more in line with other local authorities to ensure consistency and ease of issuing penalty notice fines."
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