Clutch of Brighton schools say they won’t fine parents for joining Year 2 SATS strike

Posted On 29 Apr 2016 at 12:48 pm

A clutch of Brighton and Hove schools have told parents they won’t be fined for taking their children out of school on Tuesday to join a “strike” protesting at tests for six and seven year olds.

Let Kids be Kids
The council has written to schools to say that taking a child out of school for a demonstration must be marked as an unauthorised absence according to its policy.

Earlier this week, lead councillor for children, learning and skills Tom Bewick spoke out strongly against taking direct action, urging parents to make their views known at the ballot box rather than damaging their children’s education.

But whether to issue a fine is at the schools’ discretion, and several headteachers have told parents of year two children that they will not be fined.

Council repairs

A council spokesperson said: “We consider our schools to be supportive and nurturing environments offering a stimulating and creative curriculum.

“We believe that any disruption to children’s education is unacceptable.

“Our guidance to schools with regard to the planned Let Kids Be Kids action is that any pupil absence stemming from this should be recorded as ‘unauthorised’.

“However, decisions regarding authorizing absence or otherwise are ultimately a matter for individual headteachers – not the council.

“The same is true with regard to decisions about whether parents should be fined for unauthorized absence.”

Schools understood to have told parents they won’t be fining parents who take their children out of school on Tuesday include Balfour Primary School, Carlton Hill Primary School, the Bilingual Primary School, St Luke’s Primary School, West Hove Infant School, Fairlight Primary School and Elm Grove Primary School.

One school says it believes most other schools will not be fining.

Tuesday’s strike, organised by Let Kids Be Kids, has been publicly supported by the University of Sussex’s teacher training faculty.

Jo Tregenza, head of teacher training, said: “These SAT tests are used as a way for the government to measure how primary schools are performing – they are not about providing children with the rich education they need.

“We are hearing stories from teachers about six year-old children coming into school crying because they are so worried about taking these tests – this is deeply wrong.

“This government needs to look again at how we measure progress in primary schools and they must take into account the views of teachers and children.”image

  1. derek malloch Reply

    St Luke’s in Brighton are planning to fine all parents who do not have a child in Year 2!!

  2. derek malloch Reply

    Please see my open letter to the St Luke’s Board on Let Kids be Kids website

  3. derek malloch Reply

    Excert from a letter from J Cooper St Luke’s Head Teacher to all parents on 26/04/2016:

    “However, the governors have taken the view that as the campaign against Year 2 SATs affects or will affect
    only KS1 children, any absence will still be marked as unauthorized but only this group will not be fined.
    Please could you let the office know on the day if you have taken action.”

  4. Jane Clout Reply

    The guidance on Brighton and Hove’s council website shows that fines should not be imposed except in cases where there’s a history of poor attendence: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/children-and-education/schools/fixed-penalty-notices-fpn
    “Fixed penalty fines can be issued to parents or guardians if the children in their care are absent from school for any of the following reasons:
    *truancy (including pupils found during truancy patrols)
    *holidays taken during term time
    *persistent late arrival to class (after registration has closed, on 10 occasions in any 10-week period)
    *exclusion (pupils stopped on a truancy patrol in school hours during the first five days of an exclusion)
    *poor attendance (of four or more sessions within a term)

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