A Burton mum has been handed a suspended jail term for failing to get two of her children to regularly attend school.
Lisa Morris, of Orchard Street, admitted she had failed to make sure that Liam Foster, 13, and 15-year-old Callum Barks were turning up at Abbot Beyne School between January 1 and May 13 this year.
The case was brought before Cannock Magistrates' Court by Staffordshire County Council, which stated that Liam Foster had only attended school on 40 days out of a possible 150. His absence was unauthorised on 86 of those occasions.
The court was told that Callum Barks' attendance record was also of concern, but particular attention was drawn to that of Liam.
Khalid Mahmood, prosecuting on behalf of the council, told magistrates that education welfare officers had conducted a number of home visits at Morris' address to try to resolve the situation.
He said: "Lisa Morris was advised by the education welfare officer to exercise parental controls such as removing Liam's Xbox and TV controls.
"Liam was also told to attend meetings with the smoking cessation service and Miss Morris was told to make sure he was awake at 7.30 each morning. Liam's attendance levels did improve as a result, but there were problems again in June when Miss Morris went on holiday."
Mr Mahmood also informed magistrates that Morris had a previous conviction for failing to make sure her daughter was regularly attending school in 2008.
Morris said that she had found it very difficult to make sure that both Liam and Callum were attending school on a regular basis. She told the court that Callum now took a taxi to school each day in order to make sure that he got there on time.
Prior to sentencing, magistrates told Morris that they took absence from school very seriously and had taken her previous conviction into account.
The chair of the bench told her: "We have listened to what has been said and attendance at school is something that is very important to the bench.
"We do take non-attendance at school seriously and have taken into account the previous conviction. We hope that Liam in particular continues to engage with professionals. It is important that he starts the beginning of the new school year."
Magistrates handed Morris a six-week custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months with 12 months supervision. She was also ordered to pay costs of £250 and a victim surcharge of £80.
They warned her that should she commit any other offence during this time, then the terms of the suspended sentence could be activated in another court.
Why the Mail applied for the Section 39 order to be lifted
THE Mail successfully applied to lift a court order on the truancy case.
A Section 39 order, under the Children and Young Person's Act, was retrospectively put on both Callum Barks and Liam Foster – sons of Lisa Morris – which would have prevented the news paper from naming them or revealing any details which could disclose their identity, such as their mother's name.
The Mail successfully argued that it would be in the interests of justice that she be identified in the media.
We said naming her and her sons would act as a deterrent for other parents found to be committing similar offences.
We argued that a Section 39 order did not allow a court to place anonymity on an adult and that the order had not been in force at previous court proceedings, leading to her being identified in previous articles.
Magistrates agreed to lift the ban, saying: "We feel that this case is a matter of public interest and are therefore lifting Miss Morris' right to anonymity."