Truancy: Merthyr mother jailed as children miss school

A mother has been jailed for nine weeks for failing to ensure that her children attended school.

Merthyr Tydfil council said it first prosecuted the woman in autumn 2011 and again in March 2012, when she received a suspended sentence.

With no improvement in the children's school attendance, she was prosecuted for a third time and sent to jail.

Councillor Harvey Jones, cabinet member for education, said: "Non-school attendance will not be tolerated."

The council said it was "committed to ensuring that all children and young people have the opportunities they need to fulfil their potential" and that regular attendance at school was "one of the biggest factors in achieving this".

'Stern warning'

It said taking parents to court was "not taken lightly and is the last resort", adding that the education authorities had spent five years trying to support the mother concerned.

The council said the woman was first prosecuted under the 1996 Education Act in autumn 2011 for failing to ensure her children attended school.

She was prosecuted again in March for the more serious offence of being aware that they were failing to attend school, and was sentenced to six weeks, suspended for 12 months.

With no improvement in the three children's attendance, and truancy by a fourth sibling in June, magistrates sentenced the woman to nine weeks in jail.

The council said it hoped the prosecution would send "a stern warning to parents" to parents about truancy.

Mr Jones said: "Non-school attendance will not be tolerated in the county borough and the education welfare service work hard to ensure that all children attend school in order to benefit their future," he said.

"Education is paramount to children and we are pleased with the court result."

The council said parents found guilty of failing to ensure their children attend school faced a maximum fine of £2,500, or up to three months in jail, or both.

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