English 'Christian' school to fine parents every five minutes they are late

A school gate.
A school gate. Photo credit: Getty.

An English school will fine parents for every five minutes they are late to pick up their child.

Kent-based Holy Trinity CE Primary School in its Late Collection of Pupils Policy says the fine is being implemented in an effort to ensure all children are collected on time and reduce the "anxiety and distress" of students left unsure of their parents' location.

"Late collection of pupils also impacts the school's finances," the school says.

"The member of staff supervising the pupils after school is doing so outside of normal working hours and must be paid additionally for this work. The school is unable to sustain additional staffing costs."

The end of the school day is 3:30pm, and under the school policy, for every five minutes parents are late, they will be fined NZ$1.97. This will only be implemented if the child has been picked up late three times before. It will also be charged "per child", meaning a late parent with three children could be paying a large bill.

Other consequences include the child's name being recorded in the "Late Book" and a "Late Letter" being sent to parents. Parents wanting to argue the time using their own clocks won't be able to as the school strictly says: "The school's office clock will be used to determine times".

If a child isn't picked up by 4pm, the school will contact social services and arrange for the child to be cared for. If the parents can't be tracked down, the child will be admitted to the care of a "local authority".

According to KentOnline, parents are annoyed with the policy. 

"As parents of the school we were shocked and appalled to receive this notification from the school," said one who was not named. 

"Lots of schools finish around the same time and this means that it is a struggle to get kids on time."

The parent said it was meant to be a "Christian school". 

"It's a shame the headteacher cares more about making money out of struggling parents then helping out the community."

Headteacher Denise Gibbs-Naguar told KentOnline children staying late was something that was becoming more regular. She said she hadn't had any feedback from parents about the policy.