Wednesday, March 04, 2009

CME: did this slip under the radar?

I've just realised that the CME statutory guidance [opens Word.doc], about which we were consulted last year, was released at the same time as the review announcement. Well, I did know, but I've only just got around to wondering whether the timing really was coincidental or otherwise significant in some way. And I haven't actually read that guidance yet, but I will today.

1. There is wide agreement about the outcomes we all want for every child – they should be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic wellbeing.

Well that's a good start! Better than "Everyone agrees..." at least.

4. Children not receiving a suitable education are at increased risk of a range of negative outcomes that could have long term damaging consequences for their life chances. For example they are at risk of not attaining the skills and qualifications they need to succeed in life, and are at significant risk of becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training) once they have reached the compulsory school leaving age. They could also be more vulnerable in one way or another.

Self-employment completely overlooked again, sigh. You don't need qualifications in order to be highly skilled, or to be paid for that skill.

7. This document is issued under the section 436A (inserted before section 437 in Chapter 2, Part 6 of the Education Act 1996 (school attendance) as amended by the Education and Inspections Act 2006), which provides that local authorities must have regard to statutory guidance issued by the Secretary of State.

This point sets out exactly how statutory guidance is the law. We need to pay as much attention to it as we do to the rest of the Acts of Parliament (which are available from OPSI) because it carries the same legal weight. It took me ages (and a bit of help from my friends) to properly understand that.

9. Section 436A requires all local authorities to make arrangements to enable them to establish (so far as it is possible to do so) the identities of children residing in their area who are not receiving a suitable education. In relation to children, by ‘suitable education’ we mean efficient full-time education suitable to her/his age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs the child may have.

So with the imminent implementation of the Contactpoint abomination, I'd like to know why some Local Authorities are calling for us to be forced to register with them? Surely that will be completely unnecessary. Also, why are they asking for a precise definition of 'suitable education' when they've got one there?

10. The duty applies in relation to children of compulsory school age who are not on a school roll, and who are not receiving a suitable education otherwise than being at school, for example, at home, privately, or in alternative provision.

So it doesn't apply to us, unless they have reason to believe our provision might not be suitable.

Here's a convoluted bit of doublespeak:

15. ContactPoint, to be implemented across England by mid 2009, will help local authorities discharge the duty by recording the place where a child is being educated, where that is known. Where it is known that a child is being educated at home, that would also be recorded. This will enable local authorities to focus their efforts on identifying children who are not receiving a suitable education, and putting in place the necessary support.

How can you support something that doesn't want or need supporting? How can such support be called 'necessary'?

Sections 17 and 18 detail all the many ways they can 'work closely with colleagues' to fulfil their 'duty to identify children not receiving a suitable education', including:

· Health (Strategic Health Authorities, Primary Care Trusts)
· Police and police authorities
· Housing providers
· HM Revenue and Customs
· providers of Connexions
· statutory and voluntary youth services
· the Fire and Rescue Service
· voluntary and community organisations, including faith groups

And I do struggle with this concept of a child being 'at risk of not receiving a suitable education':

21. The purpose of the duty is to make sure that children not receiving, or at risk of not receiving, a suitable education are identified quickly, and effective tracking systems and support arrangements are put in place.

Surely, the provision is either suitable - or it's not? How can it possibly be 'at risk of not being suitable'? What does this mean? (Answers in the comments box please, if you know.)

23. In order to implement these changes, local authorities should select, according to local circumstances, from the practical model of process steps described later in this guidance (from paragraph 57 onwards). These process steps reflect practice that local authorities have already demonstrated as being effective. The key processes are:
· receive information about a child;
· check if place of education already known;
· log details on database;
· locate and contact family;
· determine child’s needs;
· identify and access available provision and places;
· monitor attendance for all provision; and
· track and reconcile movements.

That sounds fine to me. I don't mind being contacted to determine my child's needs. "I'm attending to them all, thanks, due to me being her parent. Bye!" Oh wait: is the document suggesting that it's... not my job to determine my child's needs? In that case, how does it think my children have managed to survive thus far?

25. It is often lack of consistency across local authority boundaries that allow a child to get “lost” when moving from one area to the other, or between agencies/services. Vulnerable children are often already identified and monitored by other teams and agencies within the authority, and those receiving a suitable education are monitored by schools and other teams when being educated otherwise than at school. The processes in this guidance are designed to close any gaps, and minimise the risks that are part of transition points, by ensuring there is a clear route in place, understood by all parties involved, and for them to notify a named person(s) when a child is identified as not receiving a suitable education.

We're already 'being monitored'? Not according to the current guidelines for Local Authorities on elective home education, which state:

Local authorities have no statutory duties in relation to monitoring the quality of home education on a routine basis.

Home education features in the following point:

31. Some children living in certain circumstances face more obstacles to achieving the 5 ECM Outcomes and this can include not receiving a suitable education. Amongst these are (this list is not exclusive): .... [25 other groups listed]
· children who do not receive a suitable education whilst being educated at home

Oh, this is good:

55. Local authorities, with their partners, have a range of approaches to reducing the risk of children not receiving a suitable education, and of avoiding contact with agencies with responsibilities for ensuring their safety and well-being. Existing good practice broadly falls into four categories where the local authority introduces measures to: ...
· identify children who are not receiving a suitable education at home and use existing section 437 powers to issue a school attendance order if needed;

It's about time something official acknowledged the existing powers. What's the point of the review, then? (I know, it's been asked before..)

Here's a 'Practical model of process steps' that I remember being debated on the lists when it was first mooted:

Practical model of process steps

That looks ok.. does it? Hmm. It is a bit ambiguous, surprise surprise. It doesn't make a completely closed loop between 'Receive information about a child', 'Check if place of education already known', 'Child is being educated outside state funded provision (e.g. home education, independent schools)' and 'Log details on database', does it?

I like some elements of point 73:

73. When raising awareness with partner agencies it is useful to remind them that parents may lawfully educate their children at home . Where a local authority is satisfied that a parent is providing their child with a suitable full time education, the child is not the target of this duty. However, the local authority does have the power to issue a school attendance order if it appears that the parent is not providing a suitable education. Education of children at home by their parents is not in itself a cause for concern about the child’s welfare.

- but not the part that says: "Where a local authority is satisfied that a parent is providing their child with a suitable full time education , the child is not the target of this duty." It should say: "Where a local authority has no reason to believe that a child's educational provision may not be suitable, the child is not the target of this duty," but I see that Carlotta has already expertly analysed this discrepancy straight away, in which she says: "Parents are now clearly essentially only there to appear to be doing the bidding of the state and implementing the state's version of suitability."

Seems that this guidance is suggesting that it's not my job to determine my child's needs. Carlotta is dead right when she says:

"This should be headline news. If we ignore the paradoxical nightmare above, something constitutionally hugely significant has happened, and this needs to be pointed out to the ptb at the DCSF. Parents are now unable to enact essential principles of freedom of thought and conscience and are essentially in a huge regard, subject to indoctrination by the state."

Section 436A reads as follows:

(1)
In Chapter 2 of Part 6 of EA 1996 (school attendance) before the cross-heading preceding section 437 insert—

Children not receiving suitable education

436A
Duty to make arrangements to identify children not receiving education
(1) A local education authority must make arrangements to enable them to establish (so far as it is possible to do so) the identities of children in their area who are of compulsory school age but—
(a) are not registered pupils at a school, and
(b) are not receiving suitable education otherwise than at a school.

(2) In exercising their functions under this section a local education authority must have regard to any guidance given from time to time by the Secretary of State.

(3) In this Chapter, “suitable education”, in relation to a child, means efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs he may have.”

and the 'guidance given from time to time' - i.e. the CME statutory guidance [opens Word.doc] we're working on today, does appear to instruct local authorities to decide what constitutes a suitable education instead of allowing parents to do it. It's preposterous, isn't it?

Taken literally, we'd have to check every little educational thing our children did - or didn't do - with our local authority to ascertain whether or not they deem it suitable!

But then this guidance does refer back to the 2007 Elective Home Education Guidelines for Local Authorities [opens pdf]:

87. Section 436A of the Education Act 1996 requires local authorities to make arrangements to establish (so far as it is possible to do so) the identities of children who are not pupils at schools and who are not otherwise receiving suitable education. In order to comply with this duty local authorities need to make arrangements which will as far as possible enable them to determine whether any children who are not pupils at schools, such as those being educated at home, are receiving suitable education. In order to do this local authorities should make inquiries with parents educating children at home about the educational provision being made for them. The procedures to be followed with respect to such investigations are set out in the EHE Guidelines, 2.7-2.11 and 3.4-3.6.

Here are the relevant sections of the 2007 guidelines:

2.7 Local authorities have no statutory duties in relation to monitoring the quality of home
education on a routine basis.

However, under Section 437(1) of the Education Act 1996, local authorities shall intervene if it appears that parents are not providing a suitable education. This section states that:
“If it appears to a local education authority that a child of compulsory school age in their area is not receiving suitable education, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise, they shall serve a notice in writing on the parent requiring him to satisfy them within the period specified in the notice that the child is receiving such education.”
Section 437(2) of the Act provides that the period shall not be less than 15 days beginning with the day on which the notice is served.
2.8 Prior to serving a notice under section 437(1), local authorities are encouraged to address the situation informally. The most obvious course of action if the local authority has information that makes it appear that parents are not providing a suitable education, would be to ask parents for further information about the education they are providing. Such a request is not the same as a notice under section 437(1), and is not necessarily a precursor for formal procedures. Parents are under no duty to respond to such enquiries, but it would be sensible for them to do so. (Phillips v Brown 1980)
2.9 Section 437(3) refers to the serving of school attendance orders:
“If –
(a) a parent on whom a notice has been served under subsection (1) fails to satisfy the local education authority, within the period specified in the notice, that the child is receiving suitable education, and
(b) in the opinion of the authority it is expedient that the child should attend school, the authority shall serve on the parent an order (referred to in this Act as a “school attendance order”), in such form as may be prescribed, requiring him to cause the child to become a registered pupil at a school named in the order.”
2.10 A school attendance order should be served after all reasonable steps have been taken to try to resolve the situation. At any stage following the issue of the Order, parents may present evidence to the local authority that they are now providing an appropriate education and apply to have the Order revoked. If the local authority refuses to revoke the Order, parents can choose to refer the matter to the Secretary of State. If the local authority prosecutes the parents for not complying with the Order, then it will be for a court to decide whether or not the education being provided is suitable and efficient. The court can revoke the Order if it is satisfied that the parent is fulfilling his or her duty. It can also revoke the Order where it imposes an education supervision order. Detailed information about school attendance orders is contained in Ensuring Regular School Attendance paragraphs 6 to 16.4
2.11 Where the authority imposes a time limit, every effort should be made to make sure that both the parents and the named senior officer with responsibility for elective home education in the local authority are available throughout this period. In particular the Department recommends that the time limit does not expire during or near to school holidays when there may be no appropriate point of contact for parents within the local authority.

3.4 Local authorities should acknowledge that learning takes place in a wide variety of environments and not only in the home. However, if it appears that a suitable education is not being provided, the local authority should seek to gather any relevant information that will assist them in reaching a properly informed judgement. This should include seeking from the parents any further information that they wish to provide which explains how they are providing a suitable education. Parents should be given the opportunity to address any specific concerns that the authority has. The child should also be given the opportunity, but not required, to attend any meeting that may be arranged or invited to express his or her views in some other way. Parents are under no duty to respond to such requests for information or a meeting, but it would be sensible for them to do so.
3.5 If it appears to a local authority that a child is not receiving a suitable education it may wish to contact the parents to discuss their ongoing home education provision. Contact should normally be made in writing to the parents to request further information. A written report should be made after such contact and copied to the parents stating whether the authority has any concerns about the education provision and specifying what these are, to give the parents an opportunity to address them. Where concerns about the suitability of the education being provided for the child have been identified, more frequent contact may be required while those concerns are being addressed. Where concerns merit frequent contact, the authority should discuss them with the child’s parents, with a view to helping them provide a suitable education that meets the best interests of the child.
3.6 Some parents may welcome the opportunity to discuss the provision that they are making for the child’s education during a home visit but parents are not legally required to give the local authority access to their home. They may choose to meet a local authority representative at a mutually convenient and neutral location instead, with or without the child being present, or choose not to meet at all. Where a parent elects not to allow access to their home or their child, this does not of itself constitute a ground for concern about the education provision being made. Where local authorities are not able to visit homes, they should, in the vast majority of cases, be able to discuss and evaluate the parents’ educational provision by alternative means. If they choose not to meet, parents may be asked to provide evidence that they are providing a suitable education. If a local authority asks parents for information they are under no duty to comply although it would be sensible for them to do so. Parents might prefer, for example, to write a report, provide samples of work, have their educational provision endorsed by a third party (such as an independent home tutor) or provide evidence in some other appropriate form.


So we have: "If it appears to a local education authority that a child of compulsory school age in their area is not receiving suitable education," which still exists in Section 437 of the 1996 Act, and "Where a local authority is satisfied that a parent is providing their child with a suitable full time education, the child is not the target of this duty," from this guidance, which backs up the later added Section 436a: "(1) A local education authority must make arrangements to enable them to establish (so far as it is possible to do so) the identities of children in their area who are of compulsory school age but — .. (b) are not receiving suitable education otherwise than at a school."

So actually, Section 436a and Section 437 directly contradict each other even without the added complication provided by the statutory and the non-statutory guidance, don't they? (I notice the 'Relevant legislation' section in Appendix 2 makes no mention of either section!)

So it's going to come down, in individual cases, to the ability of the parents to persuade the local authorities - when asked to do so - that their provision is suitable. I think I might be starting to see why the local authorities are asking for clarity regarding suitability, then, although any education professional worth their salary really ought to be able to recognise "efficient full-time education suitable to his/her age, ability and aptitude and to any special educational needs he/she may have."

How has this state of affairs come to pass? Was it deliberate? I'd welcome anyone's opinion about it, but I've got to finish the post at this point, because we need to get ready for our home ed meeting.

21 Comments:

Blogger Gina xx said...

"Self-employment completely overlooked again, sigh. You don't need qualifications in order to be highly skilled, or to be paid for that skill"

Exactly, get them to google "Chokolit". 15 yr old aspergers home educated boy. £2 a time fabulous choccy bars.

Plus....

Me home educated, no quals (at the time) me self employed too!

8:58 am, March 04, 2009  
Blogger Carlotta said...

Hi G,

A total brain-twister, I agree. Thanks for raising these points again.

I do think this guidance is hugely significant...and yes re your point about guidance meaning that the state now determines the child's needs and this on top of the state also deciding upon the nature of suitability of education. This really is SHOCKING. Thanks for pointing it out, and I believe we need to think of more ways to make more of this point, asap.

You've also roused me to think about why they are calling for registration on top of CP. Am guessing it's so they can keep track of us more easily, and so they can prosecute us if we don't register. ie: another way of screwing previously innocent and upstanding members of society.

Ergh, in darker moments, I've resorted to trying to work out the costs and benefits of defending our families against state intrusion. I am presuming that I will start to take risks with my family's well-being and liberty when it is clear that I have nothing equivalent to lose. However, the government seem to me to be stacking the disincentives against us...eg: I don't really fancy being jailed for not forcing my children into school, should we receive an SAO for not letting a state busybody have sight of our children.

I think I need to confirm on my own minds that there are huge disincentives for the ptb: removing parental responsibilities means that the state is now liable, there will be huge financial implications for LAs, the disincentivising nature of appropriation of parental responsibilities, (parents now just won't bother...not their problem any more, more and more sense of disengagement from personal responsibilities, less and less civic engagement and initiative).

How do we put this to them again, I wonder?

By the by, am going to start putting this as my tag-line:

It is precisely because I have nothing to hide, that I don't want my private life invaded and inspected by the state.

9:26 am, March 04, 2009  
Blogger cosmic seed said...

Surely all children, perhaps more especially those in school where education really cannot be individually tailored, are at risk of being at risk of not receiving a suitable education. As my friend said yesterday - we're all at risk of being at risk of abuse. It's a complete nonsense.

9:58 am, March 04, 2009  
Anonymous Jax said...

They said: This will enable local authorities to focus their efforts on identifying children who are not receiving a suitable education, and putting in place the necessary support.

And your comment is: How can you support something that doesn't want or need supporting? How can such support be called 'necessary'?

isn't this necessary support referring to children not receiving a suitable education?

Can I ask - do you actually think it is possible for home education to not provide a suitable education? ie for any intervention or support to be necessary?

As to something at risk of not being suitable, I guess they are referring to something for example where they think someone could be managing with a younger child but they are concerned may not be able to support a child as they get older? Given the pattern of education expected you can see how they might think that someone without a high level of education themselves could struggle to continue to support a child through secondary stages.

10:26 am, March 04, 2009  
Blogger cosmic seed said...

too many risks in there - *rolls eyes at self*. Back off to poke the fire instead!

10:44 am, March 04, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

Very true, Gina. (Am I right in thinking you were home educated? If so, did it give you more self-confidence to be self-employed without qualifications? Because I think that's a factor with my sons.)

Hi Carlotta, thank you for raising them in the first place! I missed your post at the time, but found it this morning when googling for more info on the issue, which was good. You were up there with the gov.uk pages!

It is shocking but you're right, the price of not playing ball with them will be quite high. It's doable to home educate with local authority intervention, but difficult IME. Certainly not as free, easy and 100% autonomous as doing it without, because it's always in the back of your mind that you'll need to produce a report or whatever, and that does affect your decisions, even only slightly. Did mine, anyway.

How to put it to them.. I don't know. I was thinking of maybe writing a post tomorrow about how life would be if we took them literally on all this. (e.g. My baby is crying: I'd better phone the council to find out what her needs are, etc..)

I love your new tag-line :-)

Cosmic, that is a very good point. And you didn't put any more risks in than this CME guidance does!

Jax, I hadn't read it that way. Yes it does make more sense from that POV, thanks.

"Can I ask - do you actually think it is possible for home education to not provide a suitable education? ie for any intervention or support to be necessary?" Yes I think if there was a case in which the parent was absolutely not engaged in the child's learning, knew nothing about it and took no interest then that child would probably need some extra learning support. I've never actually come across a family like that, but I gather they do exist.

I've known a family where an SAO was issued because of the parent's mental health history, which I thought was very unfair because she was quite stable at the time, and another single-parent family in which the mother had to go out to work every afternoon and then the son (about 12) would wander the streets and get up to no good. But his mother felt (for whatever reason) that she had to keep going to work, and so couldn't do anything to monitor his behaviour in the afternoons, though she was doing educational stuff with him in the mornings. SAO was issued there too in the end I think.

The sad thing is: many single parents feel they have to work and there's no organic community available to look after the children when they do. It seems that most childcare, educational or otherwise, is under the auspices of the state now, one way or another. Lots of sad things actually: sink estates, gang culture, peer pressure on teenagers in certain areas to go off the rails..

The mum in the second case tried to persuade a PRU to take care of her son just in the afternoons, but they wouldn't do it because they couldn't get the funding for it when she was home educating. Crazy situation.

"As to something at risk of not being suitable, I guess they are referring to something for example where they think someone could be managing with a younger child but they are concerned may not be able to support a child as they get older?"

Granted, but I think they shouldn't be concerning themselves with potential future scenarios - they should take a snapshot of where the family is at now, if they have reason to think the provision isn't suitable. Things are complicated enough without expecting them all to be fortune tellers as well.

1:02 pm, March 04, 2009  
Blogger Mieke said...

Excuse my ignorance... what does ptb mean??

3:41 pm, March 04, 2009  
Blogger Gina xx said...

yep, I was home educated, did the old retail work for a while. When I did go to school I was kicked out of art and design for having no talent! (I thought art was in the eye of the beholder?) So what do I do now? Sell beaded jewellery and painted tiles I have designed myself!

When I was being educated, the rest of the kids in the village thought I was posh and wouldn't socialise with me! Not that I cared really tbh, far more interested in my late father's aviary and donkey than about latest fashion and who the teen idol of the time was.

I did go back to college after I first fell ill and got pregnant, mainly because I was bored stuck at home! Not for wanting qualifications.

As for self-confidence, well I don't have anyone telling me that my work isn't good enough, no-one to moan at me because the coffee is too strong or because I sold the dress the manager wanted etc.

The ultimate thing though is that if I had stayed at school, got my exams, got a degree I would not be me!
I like this slightly mental me, even if I live in absolute chaos caring for disabled family members, not earning a huge amount and being unwell myself.
IF I had the "big career" I would be probaby unmarried, childless disabled (as that would have happened anyway), greedy and alone!

3:47 pm, March 04, 2009  
Blogger Gina xx said...

Powers That Be (ptb)

3:48 pm, March 04, 2009  
Blogger Mieke said...

thnx :D

4:11 pm, March 04, 2009  
OpenID mum6kids said...

I have only read through the CME quickly.
But para 15 struck me. They use the words “where known” quite a bit. I got the impression they were trying to say that children not in school and not registered with the LA were to be considered NOT to be receiving a suitable education.
Anyone else get that idea?

Like Carlotta I was horrified (but not surprised) to see that State is to decide what constitutes a suitable education. I am very worried about what they might try and force us to teach the children.
What exactly is ‘necessary support’?

One of the mums in my group wants to register with the LA to prove she has nothing to hide. Her choice, but I don’t see why she feels she should have to.

4:36 pm, March 04, 2009  
Blogger Ruth said...

Have I read this right? They want to decide suitable ed but leave us with the responsibility when it all goes wrong so we can't sue their asses. They want us to fund their idea of suitable ed and, I assume, monitor their idea of suitable ed for progress of it( which will mean exam type assessment of HE child/ren cos they do not have the foresight or brain power to imagine any other way. I can see it now, SATS for HE) They want their cake and eat it and I am not doing it. Nope, no way, never.

7:21 pm, March 04, 2009  
Anonymous Techno said...

Does NEET really not cover being self-employed? Duh.

mum6kids - last para of your post...tell her not to. It doesn't work that way. It's just a hassle, and you wonder what the hidden agenda is. I've never given access to my kids and, from the posts I've come across here & elsewhere, I'm glad I didn't.

Gill - this whole picture you're painting of how the state cares more for our kids than we do...well, here's how it works in practise (link to The Telegraph, but very disturbing story).
I mean...how could you sleep at night after doing that?
And how can anyone contemplate introducing this stuff with the clear failures of the agencies that would be involved?

7:42 pm, March 04, 2009  
Blogger Ruth said...

They have no conscience Tech. They can't have. All they care about is protecting their jobs and pensions while trotting out the "lessons have been learnt" crap.

8:48 pm, March 04, 2009  
Anonymous suzyg said...

Look out for para.92 of the statutory guidance which changes the meaning of the relevant paragraph of the Education Act, 1996 and para. 94 which, very significantly, changes the meaning of section 47 of the Children Act, 1989.

9:34 pm, March 04, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

Gina, the assessing of students' artwork by teachers has always been a puzzle to me, because it's so much a matter of personal taste, isn't it? The teacher can personally think something's no good and mark it down, when other people might think the same work is brilliant. The same's true about anything that requires a subjective evaluation: I had one English writing teacher who always gave me top marks, and another who always gave mediocre ones for exactly the same kind of work. And yet this is the system by which we should all apparently be judged and instructed. Isn't it weird how schoolchildren think home educated ones are posh? Zara's experienced that reaction a lot too. She says they assume we must be very wealthy and have lots of private tutors!

"As for self-confidence, well I don't have anyone telling me that my work isn't good enough, no-one to moan at me because the coffee is too strong or because I sold the dress the manager wanted etc."

- exactly. Sounds like the best way of earning a living to me!

"IF I had the "big career" I would be probaby unmarried, childless disabled (as that would have happened anyway), greedy and alone!"

Same here actually. Well, possibly not disabled, but definitely childless. You sort of had to make a decision between money and family as a young adult, didn't you? I felt I did, anyway.

Mum6Kids, yes I definitely got that impression too. In fact, for a document that wasn't supposed to be really about us, this one does a good job of apparently being all about us, doesn't it? Even though our children are not missing education. The clever insertion of the work 'suitable' there changes everything, because it's a subjective word (see my comment to Gina, above.) 'Necessary support', if they're not happy with your provision, is regular visits accompanied by EWOs, threats of SAOs and the finding of school places, as far as I know from people who have received such 'support'.

Ruth, goodness knows. It seems to me that national government is doing it's old trick of trying to set local givernment against citizens and vice versa, whilst also working to achieve its other main aim: the homogenisation and dumbing down of the masses. I can't imagine any of us agreeing to testing though, or any other tightening up of what we 'must teach' or 'standards' we 'must achieve'.

Techno, no it counts as employment, and yes you're quite right IMO: the child welfare system is dangerous. If my children were taken into 'care' I would definitely worry about their safety, on top of everything else. The thing is, governments (like corporations) are essentially psychopathic, aren't they? We try to attribute human emotions to them, like caring and kindness and proper responsibility when in fact they're incapable of having feelings and can only act ruthlessly in their own best interests. If we ever want a real improvement in the state of affairs, we need a very small - or no - government, I think. (Cloud cuckoo land, but I can dream!)

Suzyg, thanks for that. I have now looked...

Para 92 reads as follows:

92. In order to discharge their duties in relation to children not receiving an education, local authorities should make inquiries with parents about whether their home educated children are receiving a suitable education.

Yes, it's the *should* make inquiries, isn't it? Even so, "Are your children receiving a suitable education?" "Yes they are, thanks," should suffice to comply with that..? Well, it's an inquiry..

And para 94:

" 94. Local authorities can insist on seeing a home educated child if there is cause for concern about the child’s safety and welfare (section 47 of the Children Act 1989). Where there are concerns about the child’s safety and welfare, Local Safeguarding Children Board procedures must be followed."

Yes, because Section 47 of the Children Act talks about 'significant harm', rather than 'cause for concern about the child’s safety and welfare', doesn't it? I think we could try calling them on that, because the Acts say "local authorities must have regard to statutory guidance" - not that they must ignore the wording of the act in favour of the wording of the guidance. If they breach Statutory Guidance they must have 'clear reasons for doing so'. And the fact that it conflicts with an Act of Parliament is surely clear reason? Hmmm... cloud cuckoo land again, maybe..

I'd love to know whether this Guidance was just written sloppily, or whether all these 'mistakes' were deliberate acts of mission creep.

5:06 am, March 05, 2009  
Blogger Gina xx said...

"You sort of had to make a decision between money and family as a young adult, didn't you?"
Yep, at 24!

7:57 am, March 05, 2009  
Blogger Mieke said...

"How can it possibly be 'at risk of not being suitable'? What does this mean? (Answers in the comments box please, if you know.)"

"Children at risk of not receiving suitable education" are children who are registered with and/or attending a school, but based on ample evidence in reports and statistics we cannot be at all sure that they are receiving suitable education, nor can we be sure that these children are able to achieve the 5 outcomes of ECM while attending school.

4:48 pm, March 05, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

Gina, yes I was about that age too. Already had three children, but had been trying to juggle them with career prior to that.

Mieke, that puts a different light on it. Thanks very much. Where is the quote from, please?

7:55 am, March 07, 2009  
Blogger Mieke said...

Oops, sorry if I gave you the impression it was an official quote from an official person, Gill.
I'm afraid it was only a tic remark from me...

10:02 am, March 07, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

LOL, oh, drat! It was so good, as well.. ;-)

10:15 am, March 07, 2009  

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