Schoolhouse written evidence submitted to the Education & Culture Committee

Sheila Struthers

Well-known member
26. It was interesting to note these words from the Minister for Children and
Young People, Aileen Campbell, in her evidence to the Education and Culture
Committee on 25th June14

“Everything that we do and all our policies are underpinned by GIRFEC—
getting it right for every child—and making sure that the child is at the
centre of decisions. Of course we recognise that parents also have a role…”

27. These words carry two flaws. Firstly, they fail to make explicit the role of the
State. The named person, performing statutory functions, is going to be an
agent of the State. The named person’s functions are defined with reference
to the State’s view of the welfare of the child. Secondly, they reveal a
perception that the role of parents is residual and secondary.
28. In both respects, I am reminded of the powerful words of the United
Kingdom House of Lords giving judgment in B (a Child), Re [2013] UKSC 33 (12
June 2013)

“In a totalitarian society, uniformity and conformity are valued. Hence the
totalitarian state tries to separate the child from her family and mould her
to its own design. Families in all their subversive variety are the breeding
ground of diversity and individuality. In a free and democratic society we
value diversity and individuality. Hence the family is given special protection
in all the modern human rights instruments including the European
Convention on Human Rights (art 8), the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights (art 23) and throughout the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. As Justice McReynolds famously said in Pierce v
Society of Sisters 268 US 510 (1925), at 535, "The child is not the mere
creature of the State".”

29. The critical issue here is, whose view of the welfare and best interests of the
child is embodied in GIRFEC? I have drawn down the powerful and emotive
language used by the United Kingdom’s highest court, the language of a
totalitarian state moulding children to its own design, as a stark reminder
that what Scotland is seeking to embody into legislation is something
startling: pre-eminence to the State’s view of what childhood should look
No comment needed really...well said that man :yo:
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