Parenting orders will be used more often

The Government has said that head teachers should use ‘parenting orders’ in order to make parents of offenders take responsibility for their children’s actions.

The civil court order when used forces parents to attend parenting classes and counselling sessions that teach families how to set strict rules for dealing with troublesome children.

Among the rules taught and enforced in these classes are not allowing children to stay up late, getting them to school in proper uniform, and ensuring that they do not have access to alcohol within the home.  Failure to enforce these rules can lead to further prosecution and a £1000 fine.

The Government’s top advisor on behaviour and a former headteacher, Sir Alan Steer, wrote a report that said there is a general lack of proper understanding about how the orders can be used within schools.

In response to the report, new guidance will be available to head teachers that informs them that all parents who are not properly controlling their children should be warned that a parenting order may be issued by the school.

The Schools Secretary, Ed Balls, stated that heads need to have power to take court action when parents have children who impact other pupils’ lives, behave badly, and disrupt lessons.  He added the new government mandate is a positive step forward in fighting the problem.

At the moment parents can be asked to sign a Home School Agreement which is a non-legal contract that sets out the proper behaviour, homework, attendance, and uniform standards at the beginning of the term.

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