Join in walk to raise funds for hos­pice

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

PAR­ENTS in west Lon­don forked out more than £100,000 in a sin­gle year for their chil­dren miss­ing school, the Chron­i­cle can re­veal.

Par­ents across eight west Lon­don bor­oughs paid a to­tal of £113,460 in fines dur­ing 2014/15 for their chil­dren’s term-time ab­sences, fig­ures from the Depart­ment for Ed­u­ca­tion show.

The num­ber of fines be­ing is­sued in­creased nearly ten­fold in parts of the cap­i­tal be­tween 2012/13, be­fore new rules were in­tro­duced, and 2014/15.

In Eal­ing, 787 fines were is­sued dur­ing 2014/15, cost­ing par­ents £34,620, com­pared with 437 in 2012/13.

In Brent, the num­ber of fines doled out rock­eted from 34 to 290 dur­ing the same pe­riod, and in Har­row it surged from 36 to 352.

Across west Lon­don, LO­CAL char­ity Michael So­bell Hos­pice (MHS) is bring­ing back its an­nual spon­sored walk on Sun­day Septem­ber 18.

Walk­ers and their four­legged friends will stroll through North­wood, Moor Park and Rick­mansworth on a three or seven mile route to raise much-needed funds for the lo­cal hos­pice.

Par­tic­i­pants will set off from the North­wood­based hos­pice at 9am on the day, and will put their train­ers to the test along a pic­turesque route through the lo­cal green­ery.

Three-mile par­tic­i­pants will then be trans­ported from their fin­ish line at there were 2,374 fines is­sued to par­ents dur­ing 2014/15 – 71 per cent more than the 1,391 handed out in 2012/13.

Par­ents who failed to pay the fine were pros­e­cuted on 99 oc­ca­sions in 2014/15, slightly fewer than the 104 pros­e­cu­tions in 2012/13.

Na­tion­ally, there were 151,125 fines for par­ents in Eng­land dur­ing 2014/15 -– 189 per cent more than the 52,370 is­sued in 2012/13.

The fig­ures emerged as MPs de­bated a pe­ti­tion on Mon­day July 11, which calls for the con­tro­ver­sial fines to be dropped and has more than 200,000 sig­na­tures.

The is­sue also hit the news re­cently when a fa­ther suc­cess­fully chal­lenged a £120 fine for tak­ing his daugh­ter on a term-time hol­i­day.

The High Court up­held a rul­ing by mag­is­trates that he had no case to an­swer as she had other­wise at­tended school reg­u­larly, but the gov­ern­ment says it sup­ports an ap­peal to the Supreme Court by Isle of Wight Spring Well Lock back to the hos­pice for re­fresh­ments and a cer­tifi­cate, while sev­en­mil­ers will join them back at base.

En­try costs £10 for adults, and £5 for chil­dren un­der 16. You can also buy a fam­ily ticket for £20, which cov­ers two adults and two chil­dren.

To en­ter, sim­ply pick up a reg­is­tra­tion form in any of the MSH shops in North­wood, Ruis­lip and East­cote, or go on­line.

Sam Heg­gie, PR and mar­ket­ing man­ager for MSH, said: “We last held this event three years ago, so are de­lighted to see the re­turn of the an­nual

Coun­cil.

In Mon­day’s par­lia­men­tary de­bate, schools min­is­ter Nick Gibb said the gov­ern­ment would set out its next steps in due course but that it re­mained com­mit­ted to re­duc­ing over­all school ab­sence.

“The ev­i­dence is clear: ev­ery ex­tra day of school missed can af­fect a pupil’s chance of gain­ing good GCSEs, which has a last­ing ef­fect on their life chances. That is why we take this is­sue so se­ri­ously,” he told fel­low MPs.

Con­ser­va­tive MP Steve spon­sored walk in aid of Michael So­bell Hos­pice.

“If you like walk­ing or take the dog out for a walk on a Sun­day morn­ing, this event will be per­fect for you. All ages and abil­i­ties are wel­come to take part, and the route is both buggy and dog-friendly too.

“It’s a real fam­ily fun event, and all walk­ers should have fin­ished their walk­ing chal­lenge by lunchtime, so can com­plete this spe­cial day by get­ting to­gether with fam­ily and friends for lunch as a treat.

“Our last event helped to raise £5,523 for Michael So­bell Hos­pice, so we hope that we can smash this

Dou­ble, who opened the de­bate, said he was not con­vinced ex­ist­ing gov­ern­ment pol­icy was the best way to re­duce per­sis­tent school ab­sence.

He claimed head teach­ers should be al­lowed to ex­er­cise their dis­cre­tion when it came to term-time leave, say­ing ‘they are the ones who know pupils the best’.

Since the law changed in 2013, par­ents are fined £60 per pupil for tak­ing their chil­dren out of school dur­ing term-time, un­less there are ‘ex­cep­tional’ cir­cum­stances. amount by en­cour­ag­ing all our walk­ers to raise as much spon­sor­ship as pos­si­ble.

“All funds raised from the walk go di­rectly to sup­port­ing peo­ple fac­ing life-lim­it­ing ill­ness in our lo­cal area.”

The first spon­sored walk event in aid of the hos­pice took place in 1984, and saw 400 walk­ers raise £800.

For more in­for­ma­tion, or to reg­is­ter, please visit the Michael So­bel Hos­pice web­site or call 020 3826 2367.

Are you plan­ning to take part? Let us know at ed­i­to­ri­alubxbridge@ trin­i­tysouth.co.uk

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