Schools are losing touch with some of the most vulnerable families across England during the pandemic, as the threat of truancy fines leads parents to de-register their children, with many feeling abandoned and isolated.
The government has said that parents who do not send their children back to school should face the usual penalties for non-attendance. But, although ministers say missing school would put “a huge dent in children’s life chances”, some families with members suffering from serious health conditions say it is not worth the risk. With headteachers saying they cannot authorise their absences because of the government’s policy, they face fines of between £60 and £2,500 for each parent.
Some heads are demanding letters from doctors to prove families’ health vulnerabilities, causing confusion as GPs say it is not their job to intervene. Education Otherwise, which supports home educators, says