HL Deb 04 June 1991 vol 529 cc37-8WA
Baroness Blackstone

asked Her Majesty's Government.:

What research has been published which indicates that the publication of school non-attendance rates and the imposition of high fines will improve attendance.

Baroness Blatch:

Action at the school level is vital to the securing of improvements in pupil attendance levels. The proposals, in the Department of Education and Science's recently published consultative circular, that maintained schools in England be required to publish data on unauthorised absences will stimulate all of them to give a high priority to attendance. A copy of the circular has been placed in the Library.

The consultative circular also calls attention to the statutory provisions on school attendance and to the penalties to which parents may be liable if convicted under Section 37 or 39 of the Education Act 1944. Conviction attracts a fine at Level 3 on the standard scale. The proposals in the Criminal Justice Bill, if enacted, would increase the maximum Level 3 fine from £400 to £1,000, but would also provide, under a unit fine system, for courts to relate fines to offenders' disposable weekly income.

Few schools currently publish attendance data and we know of no published research either on that or on levels of fines for parents convicted under Section 37 or 39 of the 1944 Act.