Will Hertfordshire’s schools fine me if I refuse to send my children back to school?

Hertfordshire County Council has addressed concerns over parents being fined for not sending their c

Hertfordshire County Council has addressed concerns over parents being fined for not sending their children back to school in September. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Parents and carers who have doubts over sending their kids back to school this September may be relieved to hear Herts County Council will not seek “formal procedures” against those who refuse to return.

Although government guidance dictates attendance at school is now mandatory for pupils, the county council has confirmed it is not proposing to take “punitive action” against parents who refuse to send their children back to school.

Instead, HCC says it will work to encourage and provide support to those parents and carers who have lingering concerns about the return to school.

Tania Rawle, Head of School Standards and Accountability at HCC, said: “It’s really key and important factor to get these children back into school, but we don’t want to take any punitive action at this stage.

“We recognise that there is still a lot of concern and anxiety out there.

“I’m confident that our headteachers, who have been doing this since before Easter, are on top of this and understand the risk factors.

“They have been really good in adapting and developing their systems and processes following updates in Government guidance. I’m confident they have got this well and truly on track.”

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Cllr Terry Douris, HCC’s executive member for education, added: “I think it is so important that we see children getting back to school and getting back to education, because they have missed out.

“We cannot afford, for the benefit of the children we cherish, for them not to have a continuing education. That is best delivered in schools.

“It’s so important that they do get back into school, in terms of education but also in terms of social interaction.

“I think the prime minister made a very eloquent plea for children to get back into school, because they only have one opportunity to learn in one year group, and we can’t afford for them to miss that opportunity.”

Earlier this week, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson encouraged parents to prepare children for a September return to school.

“As the chief medical officer said, the risk of contracting Covid-19 in school is very small and it is far more damaging for a child’s development and their health and well-being to be away from school any longer.

“This is why it’s vitally important that we get our children back into the classroom to learn and to be with their friends.

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