Mooroopna school principals respond to new $70 fine for parents of truants that can be issued since reforms came into effect on March 1.ALEXANDRA BOLKAS March 6, 2014 4:04am
Goulburn Valley school principals say fining parents whose children miss school without a good reason sends the right message about learning, but might be difficult to enforce.
The $70 fines are part of a Victorian Government crackdown on school truancy announced by Victorian Education Minister Martin Dixon.
Previously, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development had to take parents to court to fine them.
But in September last year the Victorian Parliament passed amendments to the Education and Training Reform Act that meant parents could receive an infringement notice.
Yesterday, two Mooroopna school principals said they welcomed the reforms that came into effect on March 1.
The fine will be issued as a last resort and will apply to parents whose children are absent for at least five days a year and who fail to co-operate with the school to improve attendance.
Mooroopna Park Primary School principal Hayden Beaton said he agreed with the idea behind the reform.
‘‘The idea to get kids to school and put pressure on parents to get kids to school every day is a good thing,’’ Mr Beaton said.
‘‘Schools spend a lot of time chasing up absent students over the phone or sending letters, so this measure could end students having days off for their birthdays.’’
But he said the fine could prove difficult to enforce and would only be issued when all other options were exhausted.
‘‘It will be an interesting process,’’ he said.
‘‘The negative is it could also impact families in financial difficulty.’’
Mooroopna Secondary College principal Gary Fletcher said the school had adopted many of the new attendance guidelines before its introduction this week.
‘‘There is no safe day for missing school as each day a student misses puts them behind,’’ he said.
He said the fine would put added pressure on parents to ensure their children attended school.
But Smith Family general manager Anton Leschen said penalising vulnerable families with a fine was not the best way to achieve greater attendance rates.
‘‘It’s highly likely that families where children regularly truant face a range of serious issues,’’ Mr Leschen said.
‘‘We will get a better result in terms of reducing truancy and in the process make a range of positive long-term changes if we put supports in place to help families across their areas of need.
‘‘A financial penalty is likely to increase a family’s hardship.’’
Parent communication such as letters to parents, school newsletters and brochures explaining when absences are appropriate will rolled out before a fine is issued.
Two men charged over the armed robbery of a Shepparton service station have been remanded in custody until next week.
The 2014 Yarrawonga Mulwala Multisport Festival has been hailed a huge success by organisers and participants alike.
The fifth annual King Billy Retreat Open Garden Party will be held at Rushworth on Saturday and Sunday, October 25-26, from 10 am to 4 pm.
Echuca College students Calum Pearson, Luke Judd, Kiriana Epararma, Harriet Nilon, Kyle Melhuish and Stephanie Chong are heading to China.
A former Rochester resident is helping women with their confidence and their horses.
Accusations of bullying, disrespect and dangerous conduct.
And the school's best all-rounder for this year.
Finley's Mark Whiley has been traded from the GWS Giants to Carlton - the club he has supported all his life.
District residents are being invited to enjoy Oktooberfest celebrations at Tooborac Hotel and Brewery.
Momentum builds for the greatest show in Cobram, with young and old expected to lap up family attractions in sunny conditions.
Water users have welcomed the governments' announcement of a $350 million package for new irrigation efficiency programs in NSW, but say water availability is in need of improvement.
Farmers and anyone interested in big boys’ toys will be fascinated to check out an unmanned helicopter in action at an Ardmona orchard.
Judge comments, If I were single, I'd marry this steak!
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.