Archive for February, 2009

‘Malevolent voices that despise our freedoms’ by Philip Pullman

It’s back on the Times Online site again so here’s the link.

NSPCC playing the same old tune

Following on from their shameful attempt to tie the Victoria Climbié case to home education, now the NSPCC are back to Eunice Spry. Do I really need to go through the Case Review {opens as PDF} to illustrate how dishonest this is? They should be ashamed of themselves, but I think it’s become depressingly clear that the NSPCC knows no shame when it comes to serving the interests of its political masters.

Think happy thoughts

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a real T-Rex, Allosaurus or pack of Velociraptors to guard the front door and feed EWOs to?

Guard Raptors

The campaign against my blood pressure continues

Today with Is the Government right to be concerned about home-schooling? in the Independent. Will they ever stop using the US term do you think?

So, they wheeled out anti-HE rent-a-comment Tony Mooney … ah I can’t even be bothered to dignify his self-interested BS with detailed comment!

What really gets my blood boiling is that Vijay Patel, policy adviser for government glove puppet the NSPCC has come out with this:

“Some people use home education to hide. Look at the Victoria Climbié case. No one asked where she was at school. We have no view about home education, but we do know that to find out about abuse someone has to know about the child.”

Yes, let’s look at the Victoria Climbié case shall we? Was she withdrawn from school to be electively home educated? No. Remind me, what was it the public inquiry into her death said? Oh here we are NSPCC ‘delayed action’ over Climbie - NSPCC family centre described as a “shambles” and a project in crisis. Staff delayed allocating a social worker for a week because they were preoccupied with organising a party. Crucial details on NSPCC files changed to cover their tracks.

Not only is Vijay Patel beneath contempt for trying to link Victoria Climbié to home education, he’s also a Grade A PRAT. He’s just reminded everyone that the NSPCC can’t be trusted to help children it knows about.

The article also drags in the Eunice Spry case, and no, it being about “welfare failure not home schooling” isn’t just a claim made by Ann Newstead, it’s a fact. Even the chairman of the Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Board, Jo Grills admitted that “these children were seen by many different professionals”. If they’re right and “one or two other such cases are in the pipeline” may we assume that, as in the Spry case, the children in question were known to child welfare agencies for years and their suffering missed or ignored? Will the home education element once again be a total red herring, a handy scapegoat to save the government from further embarrassment?

Review news

It’s turning out to be a bit tricky keeping track of the ‘expert group’ or ‘panel’ or whatever it’s called, that Graham Badman will be talking to but it seems that Alan Thomas and James Conroy have been added (hurrah!). Martin Narey of Barnados has apparently backed out, although nobody seems to know why, maybe he suddenly realised he didn’t know anything about HE?

Badman will be talking to …

According to the initial notes provided by EO Graham Badman intends to meet with the following:

  • the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) who I’d never heard of and having looked at their web site I am immediately suspicious of.
  • Stephen Heppell from NotSchool so should know about kids failed by school
  • Paula Rothermel who is unique on this list in clearly knowing something about home education
  • Arthur Ivatts who seems to be an OFSTED inspector and policy adviser to the UK Government on the education of Gypsies and Travellers - I guess you’d have to ask members of those groups what they think about him.
  • OFSTED which inspects Children’s Services, and therefore ought to know how useless they are!
  • NSPCC - enemy of freedom and civil rights and maker of far too many expensive TV adverts
  • Kathy Sylva - keen on getting under 5s into formal education so goodness knows why she’s being consulted as under 5s aren’t covered by EHE.
  • Martin Narey Chief Executive of Barnados - Why? Seriously, what does he or Barnados bring to the table? What?!
  • Mick Walters from QCA - Saw him on a Teachers TV debate and he came across as a pretty reasonable and intelligent person, despite looking a lot like Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files.
  • June Statham Professor of Education and Family Support at the Thomas Coram Research Institute - mixed feelings here but she ought to be well informed about the shoddy state of SEN provision in schools.

#10 Petition on Home Education

“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to to remind his government that parents must remain responsible in law for ensuring the welfare and education of their children and that the state should not seek to appropriate these responsibilities.

We ask him to remind ministers that recent DCSF consultations have concluded that current law, when applied correctly, is sufficient to the task of protecting home educated children should parents fail in their duties, and that the law represents a satisfactory balance between protecting children and the need for privacy and autonomy in family life.

We also ask him to call a halt to the review of home education, begun in Jan 2009. Home educators have already taken part in four consultations in just over three years. New guidelines for LAs regarding Home Education resulted from one of these consultations as recently as Nov 2007 and yet we are now faced with yet another review which appears to seek to erode parental responsibilities. We ask him to remind ministers that repeated consultations infringe the BRE’s Code of Practice on Consultations, Criterion 5.

We also ask him to alert the DCSF that relations between home educators and LAs are likely to deteriorate should the state elect to intrude further upon family life.”

Sign the petition HERE