Welsh EHE consultation (2015)


Consultation fatigue set in here long ago.:yawn: However, rust (like the interfering state) never sleeps and home educators in Wales are back on the hit list of those who have nothing better to do than persecute a law abiding minority.

Wales: Draft non-statutory guidance for local authorities on elective home education (closes 3 July 2015)

The aim of this consultation is to receive feedback on the proposed, draft, Non-Statutory, Elective Home Education Guidance Document, for local authorities.
So far this is not getting a good press as it is riddled with legal inaccuracies. In fact it's just another hatchet job and allied smear campaign on home education.

Time to reawaken the Welsh dragon?

Previous thread on the 2012 consultation can be found here.
Consultation Responses have been put on the WAG website now and can be accessed here http://gov.wales/about/foi/responses/2015/jun15/atisn9453/?lang=en

Makes interesting reading.

One thing that is clear, the majority do not want more monitoring etc.

Some seem to want monetary help of some kind, but don;t seem to realise that's a double edged sword. :pout:

What is clearly asked for is that LAs be trained in HE and work within the law.

Wonder if that will ever happen?


NSPCC Wales response to draft non-statutory guidance for LAs on EHE

The descpicable NSPCC are still trying to paint home educators as likely abusers, despite having not a shred of evidence to back up their smears. They must be getting short of rent money (again).

NSPCC Wales Response to Draft non-statutory guidance for LAs on EHE

Let's never forget how spectacularly the NSPPCC failed Victoria Climbie before proceeding to doctor the records to cover up their own lack of action (they were too busy organising a staff party to deal with the referral, as I recall). They went on to claim she was hidden / home educated, much to the disgust of the VC Foundation who made a public statement deploring their lies about Victoria's educational status.

We have of course covered the rentseeking NSPCC at length on other threads, like this one.

We also blogged about their hijacking of a Facebook campaign against child abuse (a futile exercise, I know) here.

Gill offers Ten reasons why home educated children should not be forcibly registered with their local authorities which are relevant across the UK.

And more from Barbara about the NSPCC child protection racketeers here.

Why is the NSPCC concerned with elective home education as an option for families?

Is it because there is a relation between ehe and child abuse?
Must every family that takes up this lawful and legitimate option for their child automatically be suspected of child abuse and show themselves to be innocent by the forfeit of their right to a private and family life and to the quiet enjoyment of their homes and family without undue interference from the state?

There is a continual assumption that all children must be registered with and monitored by the state as the guardian of children; otherwise they may be abused by their parents. Considering the fact that children abused by their parents is a very low percentage (and figures for EHE suspected abuse less than half of that,) whereas the percentage of children in the care system who are seriously abused by state approved individuals whilst in the care of the state is so frighteningly high as to be more likely than not; the alarm raised about abuse in families ignores the real problems and side shifts blame by picking out parents who legitimately choose to home educate as targets for child abuse suspicion. This screaming fire fire and pointing away from the blaze is nothing short of a hostile and scandalous job creation scheme by the NSPCC who must be in need of further funding.
Naturally the NSPCC are also in favour of the Named Person scheme in Scotland, which is underpinned by the underhand theft and sharing by every professional of children's and parents' sensitive personal data without consent. That's what we would call data rape and child abuse.

They must be running out of rent for their plush offices as they are being permitted into Scottish schools with their Childline sidekicks to make wild accusations (to head teachers as Named Persons) of parental abuse, based on children's attitudes and demeanour in the classroom. Just look what has just been reported on this thread.
What I emailed to the address they conveniently put on the bottom of their response. I have no doubt they'll file it in the bin and then ignore it.

I am writing in response to your recent consultation response on the draft non-statutory guidance for local authorities on elective home education. Please forward this to the relevant people.

I will admit to being disappointed, but not in the least surprised by what I read, it confirms everything that is wrong with the NSPCC. In summary, the NSPCC is so fixed on saving one child that it ignores the damage it causes to other children by its actions and by condoning inappropriate actions on the part of other bodies.

The general approach of the NSPCC to home education is totally wrong, in that it considers that all parents are potential abusers and all professionals are perfect and always act in the best interests of the child. The first of these is guaranteed to alienate home educating parents, which immediately makes any interaction many times more difficult, and the second is demonstrably false, as shown by many cases of local authorities overstepping the mark and causing extreme distress to children by their actions against families.

There are children being home educated who have been utterly failed by the school system. Bullied and abused by other children, and in some cases by teachers, some of these children become suicidal. The parents will have come to the conclusion that the only thing that can help their child is is to withdraw them from that toxic environment. In many cases, they report a very swift return of the happy child, freed from the stress of school. In these situations, the child will perceive the local authority inspector as the enemy, coming to force the child back to school. Most parents are not keen on the system that has failed them trying to intrude on the much improved family life either, which is why a large number of home educating families will refuse to allow officials into the child's safe space.

What the NSPCC is supporting will cause all these children to suffer needless stress simply so that someone can tick a box saying that the child has been seen by a professional in the recent past. In practice, the vast majority of these children will be out and about in the community travelling to activities and events, often during school hours and so will be far more visible than those who attend school. Some are less social than others, and so will be out less, but forcing them to associate with others when they're not ready for it will again cause them more stress than letting them interact on their own terms.

There is a case for better training for staff involved with home educated children, but this should take form of understanding home education in all its forms to a much better extent than it is now. Typically, a member of the local authority staff with responsibility for home education is exercising that function part time, often it gets tacked on to whatever is the person's main job because there is never enough justification or budget for a full-time post in many local authorities and so the person has no real idea of the law around home education and very quickly alienates families. What the NSPCC and local authorities fail to realise is that one of the main reasons home educated families resist contact is because of the behaviour of these people, who often think that all children should be in school, or at least being taught as if they were in school. Perhaps addressing that aspect would be a more fruitful approach. Listen to what home educators have been saying for years and act on it. A very small number of local authorities have listened, and as a result have a much better relationship with families in their areas.

The NSPCC response makes mention of the past review of serious case reviews. This review contains a significant number of serious errors, again stemming from the attitude that the parents are always wrong and the professionals always right. In every case review examined, the child in question was already known to social services before the parents withdrew the child from school, and as such, should have been handled by that department as a welfare case. The existing legislation is perfectly adequate to cover this because a social worker has far more powers in law than a home education inspector. Once again, it comes down to inadequate training of local authority staff conflating home education with welfare when the two are completely separate and the home education aspect of the case is incidental to the failings of the local social service department. The review points out that parents were well informed, which is true of many home educating parents simply because they are protecting their children from inappropriate pressures being applied by the local authority. There are many cases where the parents' version of events will differ significantly from the official record because the parents are always considered to be in the wrong even when there was a witness or a recording showing that the professionals have falsified events. It is a vicious circle, because on hearing these tales, other parents will take the trouble to make sure they know the law and so the cycle of non-cooperation will continue.

For question 2, the NSPCC emphasises the child's right to be safe. For many home educated children, their home is their safe space, and to have police and social workers intruding on that space is going to cause them stress. If they think someone is coming to take them away from that safe space, or force them back to school, they may even become suicidal, leading to the opposite result to that which was intended. As for professionals noticing abuse at schools, how many children have been abused in a school or other setting away from the home over the past few years, or have been abused at home but it was not noticed at school? Several thousand of them, at least, and in many cases they were attending school every day for years without it being noticed by anyone. Unless the NSPCC supports actions worthy of a police state where the child is paraded in front of officials every week or so then it is going to be impossible to catch every case, and even then some would still slip through the net. It comes back to the statement above about the actions required to save one is damaging thousands of others, possibly with fatal consequences. The vast majority of home educated children are seen in public and interact with people of all ages as part of their education.

The reference to a child with a low school attendance misses the point that perhaps it is the school environment that is causing that low attendance and once the child is away from school, the problems disappear. Again, parents get the blame even though the fault lies elsewhere. When relations with a school have collapsed to the point of threatening a fine for non-attendance, this is often the final realisation for the parent that the school is not really interested in solving the cause, they just want the child in the class in order that the school attendance figures look good. Too often the local education welfare officer is more concerned with getting the child back to school than addressing the issue that is causing the poor attendance, so the system is failing the child.

As for concerns about a child, most local authority procedures already contain a section on what to do when a child is withdrawn from school with regard to checking with other departments such as social services to establish whether there are any existing concerns. This is the point at which social services should intervene, although they often just turn up in a heavy-handed manner and make things worse when a more careful approach would produce a better outcome.

Developmental concerns should first take into account what school has achieved to date. Very often a home educated child is behind simply because the school has failed to teach him. At this point, progress may be slow because the parents will be working with the child to regain confidence. Once again, parents are assumed to be in the wrong when they are working in the best interests of the child. If the local authority comes in and insists on a child meeting the arbitrary standards imposed in school then they are failing to understand the situation.

The Voice of the Child argument is again applied very selectively. It is always used to argue that a home educated child should be asked if he wishes to be home educated, but it is never proposed that a child attending school should be asked to confirm that he wishes to attend school. As such, most home educators reject the argument simply because it is applied in such a biased fashion.

If the NSPCC really wants to make progress in the area of home education, then perhaps it could consider doing a review of LA practice and behaviour in the field and how well they comply with the law as it is written. Most LAs make up policy to suit themselves and it usually bears no resemblance to what the law actually states. Some authorities can be very heavy-handed and threaten to involve social services unless their every word is obeyed. How this is good for the children is not clear, and it is the behaviour of these authorities that cause home educators to reject involvement from other local authorities because until it's too late, it is often not obvious how the authority is going to behave.

Trying to help children being abused is important, but the broad brush approach of subjecting all home educating families to levels of monitoring worthy of a police state is not the way to achieve that and will result in more children suffering because of bad behaviour by professionals. The NSPCC has a bad reputation amongst home educators throughout the UK for its attitude towards us. Many home educators make sacrifices because we believe that what we're doing is the best for our children and object to the implication that we are all child abusers simply because we don't send our children to school.

Find another approach, it will work a lot better.