Boris Johnson announced in June fines for non-attendance will resume as soon as schools reopen in September despite ongoing concern about risks of the coronavirus to pupils. The Prime Minister issued a plea to parents on Monday insisting it is safe to send children back to class as he warned of the “damaging” effects of keeping students home. National Association for Headteachers Paul Whiteman told BBC Breakfast colleagues and teachers are likely to ignore the fine system to instead engage concerned parents with dialogue to ensure children are sent back to class.
Mr Whiteman said: “We talk about cooperation rather than compulsion.
“The relationship between school and families, and between school and home, is a very precious one and you put that at risk if you start talking about fines and compulsion.
“Against the backdrop of a disease nobody understands, and against a backdrop of anxiety I don’t think you can underestimate at the moment, I think everybody can understand the need for education.
“A proper engagement from Government, with real encouragement and the messages about safety and what to do in those areas of risk, we acknowledge the risk, quantify it and mitigate it, I think there’ll be enough confidence from parents to return their children.”
He added: “And we can engage with those who still lack confidence, and we can hopefully do that without fines.”
More to follow…