Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has vowed to end a “postcode lottery” on school absence across the country, in what will be a “key component” of his Schools White Paper expected later in the year.
The Department for Education found there was “a radically different approach to sanctions across the country, with some local authorities issuing no fines in 2020-21, while others issued over 1,500”.
In a consultation published on Tuesday, the DfE set out proposals for national rules on attendance, including when parents should be issued with fines for their child’s absence.
Fines could be considered after a certain number of unauthorised absences from a pupil within a certain period and for persistent incidents of lateness, the proposals say.
Parents will not be fined if their child is absent for coronavirus-related reasons, under the proposals.
Mr Zahawi said: “I want every single child to have the opportunity to fulfil their potential, which only time in school with this country’s world-class teachers can bring.”
“And as we transition from pandemic to endemic, it makes me even more determined to fight for children to be in school every day they possibly can be,” he added.
Mr Zahawi said that absence caused by coronavirus was “unavoidable”, but that there were other reasons pupils missed out on school.
“Our new proposals will end the postcode lottery of how attendance is managed in different schools…