A CHURCH of England primary school in Kent is to fine parents and carers £1 for every five minutes that they are late picking up their child at the end of the school day.
Children who have not been collected within half an hour of the end of the school day will be referred to social services, a policy introduced this term by governors at Holy Trinity C of E Primary School, Gravesend, states.
It continues: “Children who are collected late often feel an increased level of anxiety and distress as they’re unsure of their parents’ location and worry about their carer’s safety.
“Late collection of pupils also impacts the school’s finances. The member of staff supervising the pupils after school is doing so outside of normal working hours and must be paid additionally for this work. The school is unable to sustain additional staffing costs.”
In a letter to parents on the school’s website, the head teacher, Denise Gibbs-Naguar, said: “Though the tone of this letter may be perceived as heavy, I must inform you that I’m required by law to safeguard our pupils, and this policy supports us with this.”
In a statement, she said that it was becoming increasingly common for children to be waiting to be collected 30 minutes after the end of the school day at 3.30 p.m.
The school’s new policy says that fines will not be issued when there are “reasonable circumstances” for lateness, such as car accidents, illness, and flooding.
Parents will be given three warnings, but thereafter will be charged £1 every five minutes per child.
The National Education Union said that it did not think that fines were the appropriate way forward, and that they risked undermining relationships between parents and the school.