Just Another Guy with Opinions

Mother Jailed for Truant Daughter

Posted by shadmia on November 23, 2007


Dawn Joyce, 40, of Pendeford, Wolverhampton, has been sentenced to two weeks in jail. Her crime: Allowing her 14-year-old daughter Carrie-Ann to skip school. In the six months between January and June Carrie-Ann missed a total of 90 days. She “attends” The King’s School in Tettenhall, Wolverhampton. The school has the fourth lowest GCSE results in Wolverhampton although its truancy rate (no thanks to Carrie-Ann) is well below the national average.

This was not the first time Dawn has been in trouble with the law over her daughter. June last year she was convicted of a lesser offense relating to Carrie-Ann’s truancy and fined £100. Dawn says she has done all she can do:

“I have done all I can to try and get my daughter to school, but there are a million reasons she gives as to why she can’t go,” she added. “It is making my life hell. I’ve been on anti-depressants and don’t think I can do much more.”

Carrie-Ann does have a number of reasons why she can’t or won’t go to school:

  • Having a “bad hair” day
  • Needed time to tidy her room
  • Could not find her PE kit
  • Cat hair on her trousers
  • Dyeing her hair and not liking the color
  • Not wanting to attend on Mondays
  • Being tired

District Judge Shamim Qureshi told Joyce, who had pleaded not guilty: “I accept that a lot of the blame falls on your daughter, but an element of it is on your shoulders. The situation should not have got this far.” She described the case as the “worst aspect of society breakdown” to come before the courts and added that the jail term might force the family to recognize they had to persuade the girl to attend school.

In a statement released after the court case, the school’s assistant principal Barbara Easton said: “We are sad the situation came to this.”

“We’ve worked very creatively with the family and used every imaginable strategy to get the girl to go to school, but the responsibility ultimately lies with the parents.”

However it looks as if the judge’s strategy is not working:

A neighbour said yesterday: “I have just seen her walking past our house to the bus stop with her sister, so her mum being put in prison does not seem to have had any effect.”

Carrie-Ann admitted that she did not go to school yesterday and spent the day shopping instead. The serial truant said she had been unhappy at school and claimed she had been threatened by teachers – allegations which they deny.

“Of course I feel bad about this whole thing,’ said Carrie-Ann, who is staying with her 19-year-old sister, Amy. “I don’t want to put mum through this, but I just don’t want to go to school.”


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