Parents whose children skip school will have to pay for their GCSEs

first_imgParents of skiving school students are set to be charged for GCSE exams if their children miss too many classes.A secondary school in Essex is planning to charge £65 per subject for children who have an attendance of under 90 per cent.That is the equivalent of missing just 20 days of lessons in an academic year. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Pupils were told in an assembly that they need to meet these expectations and letters were sent to their homes.The principal of Colchester Academy Fiona Pierson said: “Since sending this letter out we have seen an improvement in Year 11 attendance of 1.1 per cent.”In addition, the number of students who have an attendance figure below 90 per cent has decreased by over half.”Both of these improvements will have a significant impact on the successes these young people will experience in the future and that is my aim.” Colchester Academy Fiona PiersonCredit:SWNS Colchester Academy Fiona Pierson She said: “I am extremely sympathetic to student needs and there are some who have an attendance figure below this 90 per cent mark who will not be asked for a financial contribution.”However, there is now a small minority of parents who will be approached. I have not received any resistance from parents, I think the approach has been measured.”The school was rated as requiring improvement in its last Ofsted inspection in 2015 and had been in special measures.A key finding was GCSE pupils were not making enough progress.Last year a grammar school in Salisbury, Wiltshire, was accused of ‘money grabbing’ after asking parents if they could cover the cost of some of their children’s GCSE exams.However, unlike those planned by Colchester Academy these charges were not compulsory. In the correspondence sent to parents, Ms Pierson explained how she is not prepared to enter students for exams if they have not shown enough commitment.To justify this she pointed out “the financial position of the public sector at present”.However she also explained how “exceptional circumstances where there may be medical evidence to explain the level of absence” would make parents exempt of penalties.last_img