Assembly Members are tonight voting on whether the parents of children who consistently miss school should be fined. The Education Minister says the £60 penalty for truancy will only be used in the worst cases. But the opposition parties say it won't work.
The government 's expected to win the vote tonight, despite calls to replace the fines with more positive measures to encourage parents to send their children to school.
They have not worked when they were introduced in England. The Education Minister needs to state where any money raised will go.
A Plaid Cymru Government would consider approaches such as the use of home school liaison officers to tackle absenteeism, so policies support pupils and their families, rather than penalise them by fining them. There is a correlation between areas of high deprivation and high levels of absenteeism.
– Simon Thomas AM, Plaid Cymru Education spokesman
62 parents or guardians have been prosecuted in Rhondda Cynon Taf since September for allowing their children to miss school.
The council says that between the start of the academic year in September 2012 and April 2013, those parents and guardians had to pay more than £19,000 in fines, costs and surcharges, in its crackdown on truancy.
It says that a child who misses ten school days per year will have missed almost a whole year of education by the time they reach 16.
Pupils are expected to attend school for a total of 11 years, but the average pupil in Rhondda Cynon Taf only attends for ten.