William Eichler 26 August 2020

Psychiatrists call for suspension of fines for children who can’t attend school

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has called for the suspension of fines for children who can't attend school due to Covid-related anxiety.

Over 250 child and adolescent psychiatrists have signed a letter to the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, calling for the suspension of fines for children who don’t attend school.

The letter comes in response to the news that fines could be imposed on families who don't send their children back to school in September.

Child psychiatrists are worried about the impact on children’s mental health of forcing parents to send their children to school when they are suffering from anxiety.

‘The threat of fines could force parents of children who feel anxious to send them back to school even if they’re not ready,’ reads the letter.

‘This could have serious consequences on their mental health, especially if they are worried about family shielding.

‘Fines could bring more financial stress on families as we’re entering a recession, severely affecting children’s and parents’ mental health.’

The psychiatrists added that rather than threatening parents with fines, it would be better to place more of a focus on mental health support in schools.

‘The risk to children’s physical health from the virus might be relatively low but the risk to their mental health is high if we send them back to school without the right support,’ the letter concluded.

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