Parents at a primary school in Southend On Sea have reacted angrily after a letter was sent home to say that children will be fined for persistent lateness from March 2017. 

According to Dr Marianna Tardo, the headteacher of Frederick Teddington Primary Academy on London Road, the measure is a ‘last resort’ that will encourage children to ensure that their parents get them into school by 8.45am each day for registration.

Dr Tardo met our Chief Reporter to explain that the new policy was a ‘last resort,’ and she was also adamant that the move was a better option than issuing fines to parents. 

She said: ‘Children are allowed to bring up to £1 per day to spend in our tuck shop, for example a Mars bar is 60p and a Flump is 20p.’

‘From 1st March, any child who arrives in school after 8.45am, which is technically late, will be asked to contribute 30p from their tuck shop money – this figure is in line with our catchment area’s parental earnings to disposal income ratio.’

‘This figure will rise to 40p if they arrive more than fifteen minutes late, and all payments will be added to our community investment fund.’

‘This year’s chosen cause is a very worthy local organisation that assists refugee children who have arrived in Essex from the Middle East.’

‘Our children love the daily tuck shop, so this will be the perfect incentive to encourage punctuality and the best possible start to their day in school.’

We asked Dr Tardo if it was fair to be fining children instead of parents for persistent lateness.

She added: ‘We are acting well inside of Essex Education Coalition guidelines, and we know that this new policy will encourage children to hurry their parents along every morning.’

‘We are aware of a number of parents who regularly blame parking for lateness, but at the same time many of our mothers are spending a significant amount of time on their make-up and other trivial issues before leaving the house.’

‘If going au-naturel will get their children to school on time so that they don’t miss out on vital parts of their education, then my stance is justified.’