Saturday, August 27, 2005

Returning Children to Prison

Yet more Truancy Patrol Guidelines from the DfES and the Home Office were issued in July, and as usual if you replaced the word "child" or "pupil" with "adult" or "employee" in this document, you would end up with something so clearly Orwellian that anyone could see this. Yet somehow the vast number of parents in this country accept these conditions for their children. How do they expect their children to become responsible autonomous citizens when their children have to spend the first 16 years of their lives in a state of effective imprisonment?

The Guidelines contain the same old problems of yore, such the old "compulsory school age" hoax and are, as usual, so unclear as to due process, eg: in regard to Home Educators, that you wonder at times how this document could possibly be considered a guideline.

From the document:
"Home educated children and others educated outside the school system are not the target group for truancy sweeps. It is not always necessary to confirm a child's status as home educated but there will be occasions when officers will need to do so. Although legally not required to, some families do register with their local authority as home educated and are given accreditation. This enables easy discussions between home educated children, their parents and those carrying out the sweep. Local authority officers can also telephone their colleagues to confirm children's status if they doubt a child's status".

But aside from all these same old problems, there is a new level of Orwellian state intervention which has resulted from the implementation of the Children Act of 2004.

From the document:
"Local authorities have a duty under the Children Act 2004 to make arrangements to promote co-operation between themselves and various other bodies with a view to improving the well-being of all children in their area, including those educated outside the school system. This covers their:- physical and mental health and emotional well-being; protection from harm and neglect; education, training and recreation; the contribution made by them to society; and social and economic well-being. In order to fulfill this responsibility authorities, when encountering children on truancy sweeps, may need to ask questions to help them access appropriate information".

Does this mean that a police officer can stop a child on the supposed basis of finding out if they are truanting and then start asking all manner of extremely personal questions? The fact that the child's emotional well-being is more than likely to be all the worse for being stopped by a truancy patrol could never possibly occur to these educrats.

Oh stop with all this punitive madness and start thinking creatively instead.

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