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Thatcham mum fined for failing to ensure children attend school

Woman fails to attend court hearing, but is convicted in her absence

John Garvey

Reporter:

John Garvey

School

A THATCHAM mother has been hit with £830 in court fines and costs for failing to ensure her children attended school regularly.

Heidi Bradley, of Boscawen Way, had been due in the dock at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Friday, April 27, to answer the charges brought by the education authority, West Berkshire Council.

But she failed to turn up and was convicted in her absence.

Specifically, Ms Bradley was convicted of failing to ensure one of her children attended Francis Baily Primary School in Skillman Drive, Thatcham, between September 6 and September 18 last year.

She was further convicted of a similar charge involving a second child of hers at the same school during the same time period.

Ms Bradley was fined £250 and ordered to pay costs of £150 on each charge.

In addition, she was ordered to pay a statutory victim services surcharge of £30.

The court ordered her to pay the full amount of £830 by May 25.

In 2015, West Berkshire Council confirmed it had adopted a tougher stance on enforcing regular school attendance, although court action was a last resort.

Irene Neill (formerly Con, Aldermaston), who was education portfolio holder at the time, said then: “Generally, and although it’s down to individual headteachers, the council does feel that schools should be harder than they used to be over the last few years on removing children from class for holidays during term time.

“The stance has been toughened and it will continue to be like that.”

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