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.
Raising awareness about family violence's impact on children message of network's new poster
Police are currently at the scene of a double fatal collision involving two cars in at the Cahill Road, Gilmore Street and Woods Road intersection in Yarrawonga.
Tatura Community House held its annual High Tea fundraiser at the facility on Tuesday, with a full-house present to enjoy a sumptuous morning tea, good conversation and relaxing time together.
The Echuca construction team behind Junction Moama has taken out one of the top honours at a regional building awards ceremony.
Rochester Historical and Pioneer Society hosted an afternoon tea to recognise long-standing members Barrie and Flora Griffin and John and Margaret Harley.
About 7600 residents served by Goulburn Valley Water are affected by a boil-water advisory.
Scone Equine Hospital relaunches local veterinary practice.
A beauty pamper day has raised a whopping $18k to assist local lady Terri Bevan with her ongoing medical costs associated with her brain tumour
A planning scheme amendment to allow the expansion and redevelopment of the IGA supermarket at Heathcote has been approved by the Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne.
Cross-border rivals Cobram and Barooga football netball clubs will contest the 38th Cobram Courier Shield this weekend.
An exciting three-hole playoff saw Virginia Lange take a narrow win in the Deniliquin Ladies Golf Championship last Thursday.
The G-MW Murray gravity irrigation system has received 35 per cent and the Goulburn system 42 per cent of allocation from July 1.
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.