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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 April, 2004, 11:13 GMT 12:13 UK
Truant's mother criticises council
Patricia Amos
Patricia Amos has been jailed twice for the same offence
A mother sent to jail for allowing her daughter to play truant has accused her local council of hypocrisy.

Patricia Amos, who was jailed for the same offence two years ago, said her daughter was suspended from school the day after she went to prison.

Oxfordshire County Council said her daughter, Jacqueline, was excluded from school because of bad behaviour.

The council said Ms Amos had condoned her child's earlier absence from Banbury School.

Ms Amos, from Banbury, Oxfordshire, was sentenced to 28 days in prison last month for letting her daughter Jacqueline, 14, miss classes.

A school has to have a sanction they can employ when a child misbehaves
Barry Armstrong, Oxfordshire County Council
Bicester magistrates heard the 14-year-old missed 31 out of 80 days at Banbury School between May and October 2003.

'Hypocrisy'

Ms Amos has now been released and has expressed concerns at her daughter's subsequent exclusion.

"They gave her a hard time, the teachers just kept picking on her, picking on her, picking on her. Now she's suspended from school the day after I went to prison - it's so hypocritical," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

But Oxfordshire County Council's education officer Barry Armstrong said Jacqueline had been suspended for a set number of days because of unruly behaviour when at school.

"A school has to have a sanction they can employ when a child misbehaves," said Mr Armstrong.

He also dismissed claims by Ms Amos that she had not known her daughter was truanting.

He said the local education authority had given evidence to the court which proved Ms Amos knew her daughter was missing lessons.

"The bench believed she knew her daughter was out of school.

"The reality is that it's a parent's responsibility to ensure that a child goes to school - it's a legal requirement."

Previous offence

Children registered at a school must by law attend it, though it is the parents not the children who are prosecuted over non-attendance.

Ms Amos, 45, was sentenced to 60 days in 2002 after failing to ensure the attendance of another child, Emma, then 15.

She was the first parent in England to be sent to prison for condoning truancy in the wake of a government crackdown on absenteeism.

After her mother's sentence, Emma's school attendance improved and she went on to win an award for English - and Ms Amos said she had learned her lesson.




SEE ALSO:
Anger over truant's jailed mother
24 Mar 04  |  Oxfordshire
Truancy mother sent to jail again
23 Mar 04  |  Oxfordshire
Truancy trials 'positive impact'
23 Mar 04  |  Education
'Truancy mother' guilty again
10 Feb 04  |  Oxfordshire


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