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West Sussex refuses to support Crawley schools decision of NOT fining parents for keeping children absent

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September seems to creeping ever closer and with it comes the supposed return to school for children across the town.

But with the news that parents ‘must’ send their children back to school come the start of the new school year, also came the news that one head in paticular had gone on record to say he would not fine any parent who kept their child at home.

Head of St Wilfrid’s Michael Ferry was interviewed on breakfast television where he stated that he would not fine a parent. This then led to a whole debate about who was right and what the right decision should be.

Now West Sussex County Council has added to this furore by refusing to support a decision to not fine a parent made by any head teacher or school in Crawley.

In a statement a West Sussex County Council Spokesperson said:

“We welcome the plan for all children to return to the classroom in September after, what has been for many, a lengthy absence.

“We recognise that some children may be anxious about returning to school and will work closely with our schools to help them prepare children and build the confidence of parents  and carers in the plans for a safe and managed return.

“We will continue to work with schools to engage with and support parents and carers in getting their children back into school before considering issuing penalties for poor attendance. Issuing fines for non-attendance is always a last resort.”

The lack of apparent support from the county council shows an ever growing divide on decisions being made around the ongoing problems with the coronavirus.

Responding to the comments from West Sussex, Michael Ferry said:

“The guidance allows head teachers as far as they can to make local decisions to meet the needs of their school communities.  If one of those decisions happens to be that we are not going to fine people for something that isn’t their fault then I would expect the local authority to support the headteachers in doing so.

If only 10% turn up when we reopen then I would say I have failed because I have not got across the message about what measures we are taking to protect our students.”

Coronavirus

Council announce service changes as Crawley moves to Tier 4

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With Crawley being placed under tier 4 restrictions from Boxing Day, several Crawley Borough Council buildings and services will close or operate differently.

The Town Hall, which is now closed for the Christmas and New Year holiday, will remain closed from Monday 4 January until further notice.

Despite this, the councils services will continue to operate and will be providing additional services for the most vulnerable residents and distributing the latest round of grants to local businesses once they have received guidance from the government.

With the Town Hall closed, there are several ways to continue to access council services.

Visit crawley.gov.uk for service information and my.crawley.gov.uk for access to rubbish and recycling updates for your home, your Council Tax account and our extensive library of forms.

To pay by debit or credit card you can do so online at crawley.gov.uk/payments, over the phone by calling our automated payments line on 01293 438312 or at your bank.

The full list of changes is:

  • The Town Hall closed to the public at 4pm on Wednesday 23 December
  • K2 Crawley and the Broadfield 3G pitch will close at 4pm on Christmas Eve
  • The Bewbush Centre Gym will close at 2pm on Christmas Eve
  • Tilgate Nature Centre will close on Christmas Eve
  • Community centres will be closed and only open for pre-schools and crèches if schools are closed
  • The Hawth will close on Christmas Eve after the performances of the pantomime and A Christmas Carol. The pantomime has been filmed and will be available to watch on The Hawth’s website at hawth.co.uk
  • The Employ Crawley Youth Hub will continue to operate with virtual appointments from 4 January. To arrange an appointment call 07814 903871 / 07909 730956 or email employcrawley@crawley.gov.uk
  • All public toilets will close except the toilets next to the car park at Tilgate Park. All toilets will remain accessible to people with a Radar Key
  • Tennis courts and multi-use games area will only remain open for use with others within your household, support bubble, or with one person from another household.

Waste, recycling and garden waste collections will continue, although these will be on different dates due to Christmas and New Year.

To find your dates and to download your 2021 calendar visit crawley.gov.uk/waste-and-recycling/household-collections/collection-days

Pest control and housing repairs will continue as they have over the past few months. All council play areas and outdoor gyms will remain open although as resources for cleaning them are limited they are to be used at people’s own risk.

Applications for tier 4 business grants will open shortly. More details about how to apply will be published when the council receives guidance from the government.

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of Crawley Borough Council, said:

“We all must do everything we can to help reduce transmission, the sooner we can get rates back under control the sooner we can return to normal, and that includes local authorities.

“While all council workers will continue to work hard for the town through this period, some facilities will have to close and the way we deliver others will have to change in order to help stop the pandemic spreading.”

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