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Suspended sentence for Burton mum who failed to make sure her children attended school

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: September 02, 2014

By Matthew Cobb

Lisa Morris

Lisa Morris

Comments (8)

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."

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8 comments

  • Macky  |  September 03 2014, 8:49AM

    And to think Abbot Beyne made it into the top 100 in the country for 'A' level results about 25 years ago. These days Ofsted consider it to be a weak school. Shows how far down hill that school has gone.

    |   1
  • dottykat  |  September 02 2014, 11:32PM

    There is no mention of a father figure in this report nor that he was taken to court with the mother..?? It is quite likely, assuming Lisa Morris is a single mother that she has to work in order to keep the three of them, particularly as both of the boys are teenagers. Looking at the photo of Lisa its quite likely that the two boys are bigger than her at 13 and 15, if they decide they aren't going to school I'm not sure how she can make them go. I understand that legally they must be educated but I do think that she needs much more effective professional help than she has been given to get the two boys to understand that their mother is likely to end up going to prison for them.. but then perhaps they don't care, they are blinkered teenagers. Two ten year old boys were held responsible for their own actions when they killed a two year old back in 1993, odd how Lisa is responsible for the actions of her two sons who are considerably older. As a follow on to that theory, it should be the boys in the court not their mother.

  • tuscany21  |  September 02 2014, 8:23PM

    Education is compulsory, school is not. There is an option of home educating which not everyone is aware of.

    |   2
  • Bainie2586  |  September 02 2014, 7:29PM

    Probably the same person trying to validate their point by creating another profile , but if I'm wrong then the timeless truth is applicable, that "great ****s think alike". Sorry but the bottom two comments are disgusting and common!!!

  • Bainie2586  |  September 02 2014, 7:18PM

    As the two comments below voting red shows, we've got two more morons to put up with in the world.

    |   1
  • VotingRed  |  September 02 2014, 10:55AM

    I would agree the BM reporting this story to deter others is positive but seeing the previous 2 comments it also highlights how unkind people can use it to demonise the parent and sadly the children and is an unfortunate by product of the story being printed. i would though urge parents to ensure their children attend every available class. Why? I used to work in Adult Education and saw too many people who only later in life realised they needed literacy and numeracy skills to function in everyday life but more importantly to achieve the jobs that could improve their lifestyle. Most who attended gave reasons rather than excuses for their poor skill levels and the majority wished they hadn't missed out on their schooling. Thankfully many achieved the Level 2 qualifications employers required and were able to move on. This story is not a simple case of children missing school due to holidays out of term and that's a different subject to debate. It's about parents making sure their kids get the best start in life through education.

    |   2
  • Con-science  |  September 02 2014, 8:41AM

    More benefit scroungers to pay for.....well raised by the mother

    |   5
  • Hellboy  |  September 02 2014, 8:14AM

    Ah yes 2 more retarded no hopers to pay for when they finish school!

    |   7

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