Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The political class agrees on disciplining parents

When there is a big story, I turn to the Shropshire Star for the latest developments.

This evening it tells me that Clare Whitelegg, 30, will not be penalised for taking her nine-year-old son out of school to attend her wedding.

Quite right too.

Because I sense a growing restiveness among parents. They are threatened with prosecution if their child misses school, yet see the authorities treating themselves more leniently.

I am not thinking of the extreme cases, such as the Leicester headteacher who appears to have been granted leave to attend the World Cup, so much as the way some schools close at the first hint of severe weather.

What has happened is that the parties have agreed that missing even a small amount of schooling is fatal to a child's later chances. (Think back to your own schooldays: it doesn't sound very plausible, does it?)

That has been followed by an arms race, where more and more severe penalties are suggested for lesser and lesser offences.

And so the idea of headteachers being able to impose fines, which sounds like some Labourite fantasty, has been warmly embraced by the Conservatives.

We no longer much approve of the idea of disciplining children, but all agree that disciplining parents is just fine.

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