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Suspended jail term for truant’s mum
6:50pm Tuesday 29th October 2013 in News
A mum has been given a suspended prison sentence after failing to ensure her child went to school.
The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was prosecuted by Swindon Council after her son attended Swindon Academy just seven times out of a possible 67 days between February 18, 2013 and April 24, 2013 – an attendance rate of just 10 per cent.
Swindon Magistrates’ Court heard the pupil’s attendance at the school had been falling each year and concerned teachers had raised the issue with his mum on several occasions. After failing to respond to a warning letter, the case was referred to the council. The court heard how the mum had failed to engage with efforts made to get her son back into school.
Her solicitor told the court the child was awaiting an assessment with the mental health team and suffers from ADHD which has not been diagnosed. However, he said his client accepted she had not taken advantage of the opportunities to help her.
Magistrates were also informed that she had been prosecuted on four previous occasions for failing to send her children to school. A fifth time put her over the custody threshold.
She admitted knowing her child was failing to attend regularly and of failing to ensure he attended, and was handed four weeks in jail suspended for 18 months, a 12-month community order with nine months’ supervision and told to attend 10 sessions at a women’s group run by the Probation Service. She must pay £500 costs.
Coun Fionuala Foley, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Every parent has a duty to ensure their child attends school regularly. We take poor attendance very seriously and I hope this prosecution serves as a warning to parents that we will take action.”