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