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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70194
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My daughter has been having mental health issues leading to

Resolved Question:

My daughter has been having mental health issues leading to school attendance issues, we pulled her out of school for home schooling on 7 July but now the council is taking us to court over school non-attendance letter dated yesterday. What is the likely outcome of this case?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Do you mean what sentence will you face?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Sort of but more that I plan to challenge this as it seems that the council and school have really dropped the ball. I have looked at the sentencing outcomes but I want more of a feel of what particular track it will take.

In my opinion the school and the council have done damage to my daughter through their actions leading my wife and I to withdraw her from school for home schooling, and given this action was taken 3 weeks after we withdrew her from school, what chances do I have of beating it and if not what are the likely outcomes.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
On what basis?
She was not at school?
What is your defence?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

My daughter has been suffering from incredible anxiety and because she was being forced into school she started forcing herself to vomit, to give herself diarrhea, as well as a couple of cutting events. We worked with the school to try and kep her in school, but her mental illness is just getting worse and the school wasn't listening to what we were saying as parents and kept asserting that she was doing fine.

We kept her in school as much as we could until 7 July when we sent a letter to the school informing them that we had removed her in favour of homeschool in accordance with Education (Pupil Registration) Regulation 8 (1) (d) 2006. As far as I can tell they never removed her from the register and counted each additional day as an unauthorised absence and now 3 weeks later they are pressing charges.

While I'm not 100% sure of our defense I think it goes something like they failed my daughter, we pulled her out, and they are using the absences that occurred after we informed them of her switch to homeschooling to press charges against us.

diarrhea

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Thanks.
I'm really sorry but I'm afraid it would be irresponsible of me to tell you that there is a realistic chance of success.
You will find S444 here
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/56/section/444
and it is an offence of strict liability.
There is a defence S444[3] for 'sickness or unavoidable cause'.
Mental health can certainly fall into that category but usually it is confined to a person who is detained on section. If it was just thought best for her to be away from school then that is not sufficient.
Diarrhea would be sufficient justification but it is not likely that was maintained throughout for this length of time.
If you plead guilty it will probably just lead to a fine. It is the aggravated version of the offence because you knew she was away from school and it appears that it was at your direction.
However, you do have mitigation and it wasn't the longest absence.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

So the council putting her in a situation where she self-harmed and was thinking about suicide is supported by the law?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
No, that is not what I said.
But not securing the attendance of your child at school without legitimate reason is an offence.
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you

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