Flintshire woman jailed after failing to send her son to school

Reporter:

Kate Forrester

A MOTHER has been jailed for failing to stop her 12-year-old son playing truant.

The 41-year-old Connah’s Quay woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced to 10 weeks in custody by magistrates sitting at Mold yesterday.

The court heard that, at its worst, the young boy’s attendance rate at school was about 13 per cent.

John Lewis, prosecuting on behalf of Flintshire Council, said the boy’s mother responded sporadically to truancy calls and on the occasions she did, she told the school that she had been unable to make her son get out of bed.

Mr Lewis added: “She admits that she has had problems with parenting and swapped houses with her mother for a time so she could look after the children.

“The boy lived with his grandparents for a few months until September 2008 and during that time his attendance record at school was around 92 per cent.

“Unfortunately when he returned to his mother it dropped and by January 2009 his attendance was just 41.3 per cent.”

The court was told that during visits to the woman’s house by welfare officers, her son would often be found lying on the sofa watching TV or playing computer games.

Despite being warned that she could face prosecution, the woman still failed to make sure her son went to school and his attendance rate got progressively worse.

Brian Cross, defending, told the court both the woman and her son were suffering from depression.

He said: “The boy knows his mum could lose her liberty today and unfortunately he accepts that.

“She says she has done everything she can to send him to school and the problems are still going on.

“Something needs to be done and if it means he has to go into voluntary care then that maybe what has to happen.

“Another option is to see if he can be moved to a different school.”

Mr Cross added that if the court decided to send the woman to prison, it would be allowing her son to win and he suggested a suspended sentence.

However, magistrates said the woman had ‘blatantly disregarded her son’s education’ and imposed the custodial sentence, five weeks of which will served in prison and five weeks on licence in the community.

They warned the woman that if her son failed to attend school during her five weeks on licence, she would be sent back to prison to serve the full sentence.

See full story in the Leader

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