Fines for absence from school without leave are nothing new!
21 September 1880 Leighton Buzzard Observer
Woburn Petty Sessions
The clerk, in School Attendance Committee, read a letter from the education department, in reply to a communication addressed to them by this committee relative to a rule adopted by the managers of the Eversholt School, under which it was stated that a boy in the parish had been excluded from school in consequence of his parents refusing to pay a fine for absence without leave. The letter, addressed to the clerk, was as follows:
Adverting to your letter of 29th of July, I am directed to state that my Lords do not think any reasonable objection can be made to the rule which the managers have laid down with the view of securing regular attendance. The rule amounts, in fact, to the imposition of a slightly increased fee in the case of absentees, and my Lords presume that the parents received due notice that they will be subject to the increased payment if they allow their children to be absent from school without first obtaining leave.
I have the honour to be, your obedient servant, J R Sandford.
The general conclusion was that, though the rule might be a salutary one so far as the management of the school was concerned, yet there was no law to enforce the Eversholt managers’ obnoxious regulation, which the department, according to the tenor of the foregoing letter, appeared to approve.
Mr Attwood, school attendance officer, said the boy’s father had sent him to school, and was willing to pay the usual fee, but he was determined not to pay the fine.
Mr Dover was of the opinion that the school managers who made such laws of their own should be prosecuted. The law should not be all on one side. The fact was that boys were wanted for employment, but they could not be had until they passed a certain standard; yet according to this the school managers were to be allowed to send back the children who presented themselves with the ordinary school fees.