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Difficult time for jailed mum's family

PUBLISHED: 23:53 27 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:15 03 March 2010

A FATHER whose pregnant wife spent Christmas in jail for failing to send their 11-year-old daughter to school today said it had been a difficult time for his family.

A FATHER whose pregnant wife spent Christmas in jail for failing to send their 11-year-old daughter to school today said it had been a difficult time for his family.

The man said he did his best to make the day as happy as possible.

But his wife's imprisonment hit the Ipswich family even harder as she had hoped to be at home to celebrate their other child had been hoping her mum would be home on Christmas Day to celebrate their birthday.

However, the woman's appeal against a jail 28-day sentence handed out by Ipswich magistrates on Monday was turned down by a judge at Ipswich Crown Court on Christmas Eve.

"We've tried to keep things as normal as possible and I will be visiting my wife later this week," said the man who himself was fined £180 for his daughter's truancy and ordered to pay £50 towards costs. "I've got a lot on my plate at the moment."

The woman, who is six months pregnant the offence. It was the second time she had been in court for her child's truancy.

The court heard that in September 2000 she had been fined £130 and ordered to pay £30 costs for an identical offence.

This time the prosecution told Ipswich Crown Court on Christmas Eve that between January 14 and June 28 this year the girl only attended three out of 194 half-day sessions.

Her truancy had followed a similar pattern at her senior school.

Suffolk County Council sympathised with the mother who was imprisoned but said her sentence struck a blow against truancy and was a warning to others.

"It is very unfortunate that the mother in this case has received a 28-day prison sentence, but it underlines the seriousness of regular school attendance and a parent's legal responsibility to ensure this happens," said the council in a statement.

"Every child has the right to receive an education and it is a parent's responsibility to make sure their children are attending the school at which they are registered. The LEA has to ensure that parents are carrying out this responsibility.

"In this case an 11-year-old child has had a very poor attendance record since starting primary school, despite the Education Welfare Service making repeated attempts to work very closely with the family concerned.

"It is for this reason that we felt it was necessary to take the parents to court for a second time.

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