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'Truant' girl's 100pc record; EDUCATION: Mum threatened with court after mix-up.

Byline: By Emma Cullwick

A MUM was accused of failing to ensure her daughter attended school and threatened with court action - despite an unblemished attendance record.

Jackie Brooks said a catalogue of errors resulted in her being issued with a summons to attend Solihull Magistrates' Court next Thursday.

The 55-year-old said: "I was dumb-founded when I received a letter summoning me to court, claiming Annabella hadn't been to school between November 22 last year and February 16 this year.

"She has been going to a private school ever since last September and hasn't missed a day.

"To be accused of neglecting my child and not ensuring she has an education is a major insult."

Solihull Council said: "Now that Mrs Brooks has produced the information we asked for, we will be seeking to withdraw our court proceedings.

"We only take parents to court regarding their child's school attendance as a last resort.

"We make every effort to work with parents to resolve the issue before it gets to this stage and it is unfortunate if they decide not to cooperate with us."

Ms Brooks, a stock-taker and auditor who lives in Coleshill Road, Marston Green, said the saga began after 15-year-old Annabella moved from a Shropshire boarding school to a comprehensive in December 2005.

The single mum, who also has a 17-year-old son William, said she asked Solihull Council to find Annabella a place.

"All they could offer me was a place at Smith's Wood School, but that wouldn't be until September 2006 and would mean missing out on nine months' education.

"I tried everything to get her into another school. I even got our priest to write a letter

"All I was told is that I would have to fund home tutoring instead and wait until September, which was an absolute joke."

Eventually Annabella was offered a scholarship by pounds 8,000-a-term The Royal, in Wolverhampton, where she started last September.

"I faxed Solihull Council in June to tell them the situation," claimed Mrs Brooks.

"Then, months later, I got a letter asking for clarification about which school Annabella was at.

"I wrote more letters and thought the matter was dealt with.

"The incompetence of the education department at Solihull is astonishing."


IN THE FIRING LINE... Jackie Brooks and her daughter Annabella. Picture: Jeremy Pardoe Photosales No: JP070307anna-4
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 12, 2007
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