Alfie Patten's mother facing truancy charge

The mother of "father at 13" Alfie Patten faces being prosecuted for letting one of her children play truant, the court service said today.

The charge is believed to relate to Alfie's poor attendance at Willingdon Community School, near his home in Hailsham, East Sussex.

A spokeswoman for HM Courts Service said Nicola Patten was due to appear at Eastbourne Magistrates' Court on 24 February "for failing to send a child to school".

She said the prosecution was brought by East Sussex County Council's Education Welfare Service but was unable to confirm whether the child in question was Alfie.

However, a school source told the Daily Mail: "We don't see Alfie at school that often. He plays truant a lot."

No-one at Willingdon Community School was available for comment today.

The council also said it would not be commenting any further.

Meanwhile, baby-faced Alfie is due to undergo a DNA test to determine whether he is actually the father of baby Maisie, born to 15-year-old Chantelle Steadman a week ago.

His spokesman, Max Clifford, said the youngster would take the paternity test in response to reports that at least two other boys have said they slept with Chantelle at around the time she became pregnant.

East Sussex County Council today refused to comments on claims that its social services department would pay for the paternity test, but sources said that such tests would be up to the individuals to pay for, and not the local authority.

A spokesman for East Sussex Downs and Weald Primary Care Trust said the NHS also did not pay for DNA tests.

In a statement released by the council, director of children's services Matt Dunkley said: "We will continue to do our professional job of supporting these children and young people and putting their interests first, and for that reason we will not be commenting on this issue further."

He added that the council would be referring the case to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), which yesterday said it had launched an inquiry into alleged payments by The Sun and the People newspapers to Alfie's parents.