ASCL comment on increase in school absence fines to £80

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the government announcement that school absence fines will go up from £60 to £80.
"It is not unreasonable to increase the level of fines for unauthorised absence given that they have been fixed at £60 for several years. However, it is important to understand that these fines predominately relate to pupils who are taken out of school for term-time holidays. While nobody wants to be in a position of fining parents there simply has to be a marker that this is not acceptable. Not only does it affect the child's education but it means teachers then have to spend time helping children to catch-up with lost learning. If everybody did this it would be chaos. 

“There is a wider issue about absence relating to the growing number of children who suffer from anxiety and other mental health issues, families who are struggling to cope, and disengagement with education, which schools are endeavouring to address by working with families and pupils to improve their attendance rather than using fines. Schools need more help from the government in this work both in terms of the funding they receive and investment in local social care, attendance and mental health services. Education has become an unofficial fourth emergency service picking up the pieces for a decade-long erosion of support services. This cannot go on