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.
Football nut and AFL Goulburn Murray league operations manager Simon Devine is looking forward to the challenge of carrying on the proud tradition of the Goulburn Valley Football League.
Police investigating a break and enter at a Mulwala club more than 10 years ago are renewing their appeal for public assistance by releasing an image of a person they believe has information to assist them.
Tatura’s Victory Hall is set for a big year as preparations get under way to celebrate the hall’s 90th birthday in September.
Former district resident and award-winning television producer Joanna Werner will no doubt be shopping for a glitzy gown ahead of the Emmy Awards in New York on February 20.
Rochester Secondary College school captains Dom Atley and Tim Poole have been accepted to study biomedical science in the first step towards becoming doctors.
Will it be Merrigum or Lancaster?
Fire destroys key public buildings in Seymour
Finley Henry Matheson was bestowed one of the highest Australia Day honours.
Heathcote Hostel residents were treated to a visit from Heathcote’s favourite horse, Sub Zero, as part of Australia Day celebrations.
Recent weather conditions have come as a mixed blessing for farmers, with high rainfall and humidity providing a respite for irrigators as well as difficult growing and picking conditions for fruit growers.
Darren McLoughlin only started playing croquet seven years ago.
From orchards to harvest to shelves, a new exhibition will celebrate the Goulburn Valley’s iconic fruit industry. The Photos of the Fruit Industry exhibition will run as part of the SheppARTon Festival in March and aims to share memories and history of an industry that has shaped the region.
Former Benalla footballer Tom Rockliff has been named captain of the Brisbane Lions Football Club.
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.