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help - I'm being prosecuted for non attendance at school

(60 Posts)
needsomehelppls32019 Fri 23-Aug-19 18:51:39

The police have just been and arrested me for not appearing in court for my child not attending school. He was being bullied and the school would not help, so I told them I was gonna home educate and apply for a different school. I did this but the council lost all his paperwork for his fair access panel meeting and he didn't get a place, and still doesn't.

I moved house in April (I'm in the north east if that is relevant). The council knew of the new address and I have had letters from them here. However, it seems they sent a summons to magistrates court to my old address and I knew nothing of it. The police have now bailed me to appear on Wednesday. I've tried to apply for lehgal aid but been told it's unlikely I'll get it. He is 12 and has SN's, and kept threatening to kill himself if I forced him to go. He was also violent to me and his older sister.

Any advice? I feel sick with worry.

Namenic Fri 23-Aug-19 19:02:17

Perhaps you could try ask advice on a home ed forum? Some people might have some experience with legal rights and withdrawing child from school.

Nowisthemonthofmaying Fri 23-Aug-19 19:02:54

Don't panic! Make sure you take all relevant paperwork with you, i.e. letters from the council to your new address, plus all previous correspondence with council /school. You should be able to talk to the prosecutor, and/or someone from the council, before you even get into court - if you can prove (as you can) that you never got the summons and that the council did have your address, then they won't count failing to attend on the last occasion against you.

Did you officially inform the school that you would be home schooling and do you have a copy of the letter?

Namenic Fri 23-Aug-19 19:03:10

Can social services help? A violent teen can be v hard to deal with especially with other children at home

slipperywhensparticus Fri 23-Aug-19 19:04:02

Go and explain everything if you can prove you removed and home educated your child that will be best

thisismygardenname Fri 23-Aug-19 19:06:09

I would recommend that you join a FB group called "Not Fine In School" ASAP. There are some very knowledgable people on there who may be able to offer advice.

girlofthenorth Fri 23-Aug-19 19:13:49

If he has SNs look at your local SENDIAS and ask if they can give advice . If DS not diagnosed you can still get help and support and apply for a statement (EHCP) if he's been a school refuser.

lilybetsy Fri 23-Aug-19 19:16:25

have you been educating him at home ? Can you provide evidence of this ?
that might help somewhat

DewDropsonKittens Fri 23-Aug-19 19:18:59

Have you been home schooling him?

You will need evidence of this to take to court with you,
Has he been taken off roll from his current school?

If he is not on roll, you need to state an appeal with the council

You will have to pay the fine for non attendance. Probably court fees on top.

HaileySherman Fri 23-Aug-19 19:22:15

Oh OP I'm so sorry! Try to stay calm and focus on getting all your ducks in a row, starting with proof that you submitted paperwork etc, basically anything that shows you did what you were supposed to. It may be printing emails or texts, phone records, anything to support your claim if you lack any actual paperwork. Also make sure you are clear and concise with regards to any thing you sent in but they lost so there's no record. You'll want to have answers as to what you did and how you followed up. If you didn't follow up as you should have make sure you explain why. Know how you'll answer everything so you're not floundering for answers on the spot. Keep seeing if you're able to get any legal help as well. It doesn't sound like you've been neglecting this, so as long as you can explain what happened it should be ok. I would tend to think that if communication got lost in the mail or whatever, that made the school feel like they needed to cover their ass by reporting you. Also, has your child seen a doctor or therapist regarding the mental and emotional pressures he is under (bullying, etc)? If so, have that info. If not maybe take him to see someone.

StinkinDrink Fri 23-Aug-19 19:23:28

Oh bless you, sounds like such a tricky situation! Others have given fab advice, I just wanted to give a virtual hug and some flowers flowers I hope all works out ok for you!

needsomehelppls32019 Fri 23-Aug-19 19:29:45

I gave a letter to the school reception saying I felt I had no choice but to home educate due to being prosecuted otherwise. I asked if they could send work home but they refused. But they are saying he was not taken off roll.

I have all the work books etc he has been doing at home. Thank you for all the advice.

IceRebel Fri 23-Aug-19 19:37:37

I felt I had no choice but to home educate due to being prosecuted

So the prosecution is for the time he was absent before you decided to home school? How long has it been since you tried to remove him from the school?

Ifartglitterybaubles Fri 23-Aug-19 19:43:12

Have Pmd you @needsomehelppls32019.

browzingss Fri 23-Aug-19 19:47:44

Get a solicitor

File a statutory declaration if you were unaware of the proceedings. This won’t stop the charges from being filed against you, but it will reset the court proceedings to the beginning. I am paraphrasing here but a solicitor can advise if this would be appropriate.

browzingss Fri 23-Aug-19 19:48:47

Also if you had an interview with the police, did you have a duty solicitor present?

bobstersmum Fri 23-Aug-19 19:51:35

Sorry to hear about this op I hope you get it all sorted!

Slaymill Fri 23-Aug-19 19:52:05

When I home educated my son the school sent me a letter confirming this. They also inform the local council as a matter of course. Do you have those letters have the Home School division at the council been in touch

I send all correspondence recorded delivery so I always have evidence. What home schooling have you been doing provide examples. Get some advice at citizens advice.

Proseccoinamug Fri 23-Aug-19 19:57:01

When I deregistered mine from school to home ed, I didn’t get any correspondence at all.

You might have muddied the waters by asking them to send work home. If you’re home educating, it’s nothing to do with school any more.

Join a Facebook group called ‘Home Education - Help Dealing with Officialdom’ - you’ll get lots of good advice there from people who know the law.

You don’t have to have any evidence of having done formal work with your ds but you do need to be able to tell them how he is learning and what approach you’re taking.

Get legal advice, too.

HateIsNotGood Fri 23-Aug-19 20:00:34

OP - firstly I think you have enough 'legal proof' to demonstrate that this 'prosecution' is not 'in order'. Due to your ds's SN I suggest you seek immediate assistance from IPSEA

www.ipsea.org.uk/contact-ipsea

How 'surprising' the LEA have lost all the paperwork. Not.
Oh yes, these sorts of things do happen - it just takes one school and one HT to start this kind of 'rot'.

Also, get to the SN Boards - you will be bombarded with 'experienced' advice.

Good Luck OP, be strong, you will get your ds and yourself through this.

PapaShango Fri 23-Aug-19 20:11:14

As someone above has mentioned, there is a very good Facebook page. They will be able to help you. My neighbour was in this situation last year and a lady on the Facebook page helped her sort a lot of it out. Good luck hope you get it sorted ASAP flowers

needsomehelppls32019 Fri 23-Aug-19 20:13:22

I still don't haver any paperwork from the courts at all, so I don't know what I am being prosecuted for. It must have all gone to my old address and I can't access it. Just a bail notice from the police saying I need to attend week after next.

I wasn't detained by the police - just arrested, then de-arrested and bailed to appear in court. It was horrible though. I had no idea what I was supposed to have done and was so scared.

I had no confirmation from the school regarding de-registering him. Plus there was only a gap of 6 weeks between when from when I deregistered him and when I applied for his new school. Since then, the delay in his schooling has been due to them losing the paperwork.

SiberianCake Fri 23-Aug-19 20:17:18

I have no answers but just want to voice my support. flowers

Oblomov19 Fri 23-Aug-19 20:23:47

Goodness poor you about the arrest. Frightening. So OTT.

needsomehelppls32019 Fri 23-Aug-19 20:28:58

Thank you to those voicing support flowers

I feel so alone with it. I just wanted to help him but whenever I asked for help I wasn't given any. He was being called the most awful names and I had to keep washing his blazer as other children had been spitting at his back. All I ever got was constant threats of prosecution.

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