Hampshire and Portsmouth councils drop school fines and attendance prosecutions

TWO councils have dropped legal action against parents for children’s poor attendance at school – including in some cases before lockdown was imposed.

By Ben Fishwick
Friday, 22nd May 2020, 1:20 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd May 2020, 1:46 pm

Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council both say they are following Department for Education guidance.

In Portsmouth, any penalty notices or prosecutions linked to Covid-19 absences have been suspended.

But the authority has also withdrawn new cases from March 16 onwards.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Portsmouth City Council's civic offices. Picture: Sarah Standing (210319-3377)

A statement said: ‘This approach was applied to prosecutions for non-attendance.

Legal proceedings are taken in arrears so any outstanding prosecutions were for offences committed in the period December to the end of February.

Read More

Read More
Police presence at Havant Thicket continues after body found

‘Reviews took place to decide whether to proceed with those that related to the period prior to March 16, 2020. Each case was reviewed individually as it always would be, irrespective of Covid-19.’

In Hampshire no Year 11 pupils’ parents will face legal action over non-attendance.

And penalty notices issued in March – or due to be paid in March – have been withdrawn. Any payments made will be refunded.

Councillor Roz Chadd, executive member for education and skills, said: ‘In response to Covid-19, we have suspended the issuing of all penalty notices until schools are fully open and DfE guidance is available.

‘All penalty notices issued in March, or where payment fell due in March have been withdrawn and refunded if paid, and no legal action relating to the attendance of a Year 11 student will be pursued.

‘In all other cases, due process will be followed as normal, making use of available technology for meetings, in place of face-to-face contact.’

At the moment it is planned that nurseries, Year R, Year 1 and Year 6 in primary schools, and Year 10 and Year 12 in secondary schools and colleges will resume on Monday June 1.

However, both Portsmouth and Hampshire councils have said that they are awaiting further guidance before committing to this, and many teachers and unions have protested that it will not be safe.

A message from the Editor

Thank you for reading this story on portsmouth.co.uk. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to portsmouth.co.uk and enjoy unlimited access to local news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit our Subscription page now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.