Parents to be fined £5 for every half an hour they're late to pick up children from school
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Parents with children at a UK school are being warned they could face a fine of £5 for every half hour they're late to pick up their kids.
The warning comes from Woodbank Primary School in Brandlesholme, Bury, which decided to bring in a fine in a bid to prevent parents from relying too much on teachers for some involuntary after-school care.
One dad, whose daughter attends the school, told the Manchester Evening News: "We got a message from school advising us of a £5 charge if you're late collecting your child from school.
"We also get told that the parents of kids going on holiday out of summer holidays will receive a fine."
The message listed the different finishing times for students at the school and encouraged parents to 'pick up your child promptly at the end of the day'.
"If you do not you could incur a charge of £5 per half an hour... Children being picked up late impacts on staff being late to meetings, the running of clubs and it also causes distress to the child," the message continued.
The warning has been met with criticism from some parents, especially as the school has also warned parents of potential strike action from teachers.
"Now we've had a message telling us that the teachers could be going on strike on four different occasions so school will be closed - again disrupting the education," the dad told MEN.
He continued: "We get fined for being late or going on holiday because it disrupts education, but it's OK for them to go on strike when it suits. I'll be sending a fine to the school for disrupting my child's education during the strike days."
Parents were informed about the strike action last week, when they received a letter explaining that if the strike by the teaching union NEU goes ahead as planned, the school will be closed to all-but two classes on four days throughout February and March.
The letter, written by headteacher Kelly Macadam, explains: "I am getting in touch to give you as much notice as possible that learning will be disrupted on the above dates.
"We recommend that you start to make alternative childcare arrangements for these dates. I am sorry about the potential disruption to you and to your child’s education.
"I understand that this situation may be frustrating, and ask that all members of our school community continue to treat each other with respect. Woodbank remains committed to providing a safe and secure environment for our pupils and delivering high-quality teaching."
Macadam addressed controversy of the pick-up fine in a statement, stressing it is 'very important that parents and carers pick up their children on time at the end of the school day.'
"Children not collected on time often get upset and distressed if they do not know where their parent is," she continued "Also, staff members have to attend meetings, lead extra-curricular clubs or have work to complete, and sometimes have to leave school on time for their own child care arrangements.
"We always make allowances for exceptional circumstances such as an emergency or being stuck in traffic, and we provide a ‘before and after school’ club which parents can use if they are going to be late.
"We would only consider charging parents who are persistently and repeatedly late. To date, no parent has been charged."
Macadam encouraged any parents with concerns about school policy to contact her directly, and added that the strike action is 'a national issue and out of the school's control'.
"At this moment, I am unsure which days the school will be affected, although I will keep parents informed as the details become clear," she said.
Tyla has reached out to Woodbank Primary School for further comment.