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Falmouth mother jailed for children's non-attendance at school

By WBgdavies  |  Posted: February 18, 2013

A mother was jailed by Truro Magistrates for failing to send her children to school

Comments (8)

A Falmouth mother who failed to send her three children to school regularly has been sent to prison for 20 weeks.

Magistrates in Truro imposed the sentence on the woman, who has been prosecuted four previous times for similar offences, on Friday.

Despite these convictions, Kevin Hill, prosecuting on behalf of Cornwall Council, told the court their attendance had failed to improve and the three youngsters, aged 15, 14 and 6 years, had missed school on numerous occasions.

On the last occasion the mother was given 12 weeks imprisonment suspended for 12 months, but still failed to ensure that her children attended school.  

She also failed to attend meetings with representatives of the Council's Education Welfare Service and her children's schools.

As a result the magistrates felt they had no option other than to invoke the suspended sentence as well as impose a further 8 weeks imprisonment for the new offence. 

John Heath, the Council's principal education welfare officer, said. "Most parents send their children to school regularly.

"It is crucial that we engage parents in ensuring their children go to school. As a local authority we are committed to raising attendance and tackling truancy."

Attendance levels in Cornwall are improving year on year, he said.
"Education welfare officers in Cornwall work closely with schools, parents and pupils to try to sort out attendance issues" he added. ""This may involve arranging home and school visits to discuss the situation.  

"They will try to find out the reasons why the child is not attending school and take steps to try and get the child back into school. This includes offering support or signposting to other agencies. "
"Prosecution is a last resort when everything else has failed. Where parents are finally taken to court for school attendance offences they do run the risk of being fined or sent to prison."

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  • josdave  |  February 19 2013, 8:50AM

    I would not normally equate non school attendance with crime but two of those children are teenagers and they are getting away with putting up two fingers to the system even to the point of their mother facing prison. It is not far rom that to a life of crime and that will happen unless something drastic is done.

  • Truro_England  |  February 18 2013, 11:10PM

    The scariest thing is that there are a million more of these families in the UK who go through their entire life living on benefits and not abiding my the same laws the rest of us do!! I know many of you will 'knock me down' as usual and call me right wing but the truth is many of these families breed and breed more benefit takers who commit crime at any level, never work, make life difficult for us law biding citizens and never pay any taxes!! I suggest all males at birth sterilized!! Then when at the age of 18 if he feels him and his partner are mature enough to be responsable parents, they will have to take a test, provide proof of address and income, then given a license which must be carried around 24/1...

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  • jimjams2011  |  February 18 2013, 8:48PM

    The jailing of the mother is misdirection. It total negates the role of the school in this? What is it about the school and the standard of teaching which entails the children not wishing to go to that school? The fact of the matter is that if as a teenager you don't want to go to school, neither hell nor highwater will get you there. The idea by Josdave that non school attendance leads to a life of crime is rot, in Cornwall the majority of jobs do not require any school qualifications. The majority of work down here is vocational and you can learn on the job or gain qualifications on the job. A lack of qualifications does not hold you back in cornwall. Come the time when they have someone to inspire them or a career goal to work towards they can go back to college and into a more adult learning environment and study an access court and head off to university if that so becomes their wish with the added benefit of maturity and knowledge of where they want to go in life. Their mother however has been made a scapegoat. SHAME on the court.

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  • josdave  |  February 18 2013, 7:24PM

    Those children if something positiuve is not done are headed for a life of crime because without an education they will fall behind everyoine else in the hunt for jobs. I agree with lurchersrock that a better way would be to take all the kids into care and make sure they got taught.

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  • lwspj  |  February 18 2013, 5:39PM

    As part of a research project, I am looking to interview parents who have been prosecuted for their child's truancy. I can pay £25 for the interview. Absolute confidentiality is guaranteed. If you are interested, please contact Stephen Jones, University of Bristol on 01179545380 or e-mail S.P.Jones@bristol.ac.uk

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  • lurchersrock  |  February 18 2013, 3:35PM

    There is a better answer - take the children away from her permanently.

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  • elfa66  |  February 18 2013, 3:07PM

    The answer is to obey the law and send your children to school. If people are not prepared to look after their children properly, put them into care for adoption. The childrens welfare is paramount.

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  • Anyone  |  February 18 2013, 2:39PM

    And is this and answer? It is certainly not a cost effective one. The children now need to be cared for, an extra expense, the mother has to be cared for in prison, an extra expense, and the cost of the court cases have to be paid for, and most of these expenses, the child care, and court expenses come out of our, the council tax payers pocket. THERE SURELY HAS TO BE A BETTER ANSWER THAN THIS!!!!!

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