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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 March, 2004, 17:18 GMT
Truancy mother sent to jail again
Patricia Amos and her daughter, Kerry
Patricia Amos (left) was sentenced to 28 days in prison
The first parent to be jailed for her daughter's truancy has been sent to prison for a second time - for allowing her younger child to skip school.

Patricia Amos, of Banbury, Oxfordshire, was sentenced on Tuesday to 28 days in prison for letting her daughter Jacqueline, 14, miss classes.

Amos, 45, was found guilty by Bicester magistrates in February.

She had been sentenced to 60 days in 2002 after failing to stop her other child, Emma, then 15, from truanting.

The offence in this case relates not simply to having failed to secure a pupil's attendance but of having condoned the absence
Paul Smith, council spokesman
After that sentence, Amos told the BBC: "I know for a fact that something good has come out of something bad.

"I'm going to make sure everyday that somebody knows that I have taken them to school.

"I'm going to go out of my way... There's no way I want to spend anymore time in prison."

On Tuesday, Amos' solicitor Chris Edwards said in court that he feared his client was being made a national scapegoat.

He added that Amos, a former drug addict who receives methadone treatment, had found the "intrusive, excessive media interest" in her case stressful.

At her hearing in February, Amos argued she had made "every effort" to get Jacqueline to school.

Support offered

But Louise Worton, for Oxfordshire County Council, said that out of 160 occasions when the girl should have been at school, she was only present on 98.

Of the 62 occasions when Jacqueline was not at school, her mother had been complicit in 52, she added.

Paul Smith, spokesman for Oxfordshire County Council, said on Tuesday: "The council will continue to pursue its current policies in relation to truancy following today's sentencing of Patricia Amos.

"Mrs Amos was originally imprisoned in May 2002 following an offence relating to her two daughters.
I'm going to get my act together
Patricia Amos speaking in 2002

"Following the conviction the attendance record of the two daughters rose significantly.

Award-winning daughter

"The family have been offered high levels of support from the county council's education service and their colleagues in social and health care.

"It should be noted that the offence in this case relates not simply to having failed to secure a pupil's attendance but of having condoned the absence."

The Department for Education and Skills, which supports "fast-tracking" parents of persistent truants through the courts said it could not comment on individual cases.

Amos' older daughter, Emma, went on to win a top English prize after returning to lessons last year.

She has now left school and attends a further education college.

The BBC's James Westhead
"Her younger daughter is missing almost half of her lessons"

Truancy mother faces jail again
23 Mar 04 |  Oxfordshire
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23 Mar 04 |  Education
'Truancy mother' guilty again
10 Feb 04 |  Oxfordshire
Truancy mother: 'Prison woke me up'
28 May 02 |  Education
Sins of the daughters
17 May 02 |  Mike Baker

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