Khyra Ishaq case shows why CSF Bill is a BAD idea

I’ve just read through the Judgement on the Khyra Ishaq case by Mrs Justice King. It was hard going but not only does it make it clear that the measures in the CSF Bill would NOT have saved her, it demonstrates how they would make such cases more likely!

Birmingham City already acted as if they had to authorise home education and the children where not removed from the school roll until the “Educating Otherwise advisor” had approved the educational provision. Despite SEN statements, he did so based on a 1 hour home visit in a room described as “a “rudimentary” classroom having been set up with a display board with writing on it on the wall although, he said, there were no chairs or other items that were what he referred to as “resources” for teaching. Mr I described there being some basic readers and one or two books around.” and no further information.

# Mr H was vague in his evidence as to what, if anything occurred between February and April. He said in oral evidence that he had not got the plan from mother and had written back to her. That then that would seem to indicate that he was not in a position to tell social services, or indeed anyone else, that he was satisfied as to the educational provision to be provided for these statemented children.

# The documentary evidence covering this period of time is incomplete and mainly in the form of emails. Such email evidence as is available seems to suggest that Mr H did in fact give approval indicating that he was satisfied with the proposed educational provision despite the fact that mother had failed to provide any educational plan. The names of the children were accordingly moved from the school roll. This meant that the children were longer be categorised as unauthorised absentees and so another possible route of monitoring the children was lost. |It was for that very reason that the school had up until then resolutely refused to take the children off their roll.

# In the emails it shows that on 28th February Mr H spoke to a Laura Cartwright who was the reviewing officer at SENAS. Mr H confirmed that he had conducted the home visit and it is recorded that he had reported that the parents were able to supply adequate information about their plans for educating the children and that he was satisfied that they were sufficiently set up for home teaching.

Meanwhile “The Initial Assessment was abandoned on the basis that Education Otherwise in the form of Mr. H was now to be involved.”

Tell me how that won’t happen again. Overworked EHE inspector just ticks boxes because s/he is snowed under having to inspect every single HE family at least once a year. Overworked social worker decides that since EHE inspector is involved there’s no need to do an assessment even when serious welfare concerns have been reported. Result, abuse undetected and sooner or later another death.

Last Modified: Sunday, February 28th, 2010 @ 00:24

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8 Responses to “Khyra Ishaq case shows why CSF Bill is a BAD idea”

  1. Isn’t it safer for them mostly NOT to approve home ed? What’s the worst that could happen if they refuse to register the home education provision? Apart from council complaints and Local Government Ombudsman and legal challenge to school attendance orders?

    Rock and a hard place


  2. I must admit I liked poor old Mr H when he used to come around here. I think he made a mistake here but then with a case load of 350 families it’s hardly surprising. He was very pro-EHE and I think it’s sad he was been mixed up in this and his boss Mr RL (who I met once) has stabbed him in the back.
    I notice the Daily Mail-has altered it’s news page to bash what they call home tuition.
    *sigh* We really do have a tough time ahead even if Michael Grove was telling the truth t’other day.

  3. Commenting as I read through, so sorry if I’ve missed clarification below.

    “Birmingham City already acted as if they had to authorise home education and the children where not removed from the school roll until the “Educating Otherwise advisor” had approved the educational provision”

    Doesn’t the law currently set out that this is the case with children with statements? I thought so.

  4. @sally - children at special schools but not children with statements who go to regular schools.

  5. I think social worker made very bad mistake of ASSUMING that since the ‘eo’ and an educational social worker had visited and former (tho not latter) was satisfied with ed provision there couldn’t be any obvious child protection issues to continue to pursue in any urgency! How wrong was she! This is, as you say, potentially very dangerous.

    I’ve also blogged having just read the care order on the other siblings.

  6. re: sen and dereg. Good. I thought it was pretty draconian.

  7. I thought, reading through the judgment, that there was evidence of other ultra vires actions and expectations. It seemed a bit beside the point when I was reading. But it is expected.

  8. It’s very annoying isn’t it? What is described is so close to what Schedule 1 would set up, right down to the EHE inspector having an absurd case load.

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