More Swansea parents in the dock over children failing to attend school
ANOTHER group of parents have appeared in court for failing to ensure their children attend school.
The latest hearings at Swansea Magistrates' Court saw five city mothers prosecuted.
Their children attend Pentrehafod, Bishop Gore and Bishop Vaughan and a city primary school, which cannot be named for legal reasons.
They are the latest prosecutions brought by the council. In the year 2011/12 there were 46 prosecutions of parents for failing to ensure their children attended school.
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The lowest attendance rate for the children, in relation to the latest court appearance, was 13 per cent between September and December 2012.
The court was told that although one mother had engaged with council officers, truancy was "entrenched" within her family.
Solicitor Steve Burnell, representing the mother who did not attend court, said: "The young girl is quite bright and was doing very well prior to this. I know the family has a number of issues ongoing."
Magistrates imposed a 12- month conditional discharge and ordered she pay £80 in costs.
A year 10 pupil attended just 41 out of 210 of the sessions the school was open — an attendance rate of 19 per cent between May and November 2012.
The mother, who was unrepresented in court, said: "I do my best to try to get her to school.
"Even when I said I could go to prison she says, "so — I don't care". It doesn't matter what I do.
"I need help with getting her to understand how important it is," she added.
She received a 24-month conditional discharge.
Another pupil had a rate of 55 per cent, attending 190 of 344 available school sessions from January to November 2012. The child's mother was given a 24- month conditional discharge.
One primary school pupil had attended just 98 out of 146 school sessions between September and December.
Officers had visited his mother 10 times, made three calls, sent four letters and arranged two meetings, the court heard.
Magistrates found the case proved in absence after she failed to attend court. Education officers told magistrates the pupil is still regularly missing two days a week. The mother was made subject to a 12-month conditional discharge.
Another mother appeared in court after her child's attendance rate was 62 per cent between January and November 2011.
The court was told there were worries the year nine pupil's mother was not engaging with officers as they tried to get the child to attend school.
The mother, who appeared unrepresented, said her child misbehaved at school but not at home.
She said she had not engaged with the council because she was scared.
"I am scared they're going to think I'm a bad mother and they're going to take her off me," she said.
"She never behaves in school, she doesn't like being told what to do."
She was given a conditional discharge for 12 months.
A spokesman from Swansea Council said: "Prosecution is used as a last resort.
"There are 34,000 pupils at schools in Swansea and the vast majority of parents and guardians ensure their children attend school regularly," he added.
"Truancy prevents young people from achieving their full potential and also makes them vulnerable to crime. That's why South Wales Police is supportive of the work we do to encourage parents to ensure their children go to school," he said.