Thursday, January 25, 2007

In the Case of a Flu Pandemic

We are told, of course, that it will happen and plans have been drawn up in order that the nation should survive it. I have to say that it seemed from the documents here that the state will be remarkably reluctant to close schools, for even if advised to do so by the medics, and the DfES passes on this advice to the schools, the DfES intends to leave it up to the board of governors to actually decide when to shut the gates.

Yeah right: in this situation, I really want my children to be left in the hands of someone with, in all probability, almost no medical expertise whatsoever, but who may well be rather concerned to please the higher-ups, who in turn will be rather concerned, given that they seem to think the following:

"If schools close, is there a duty to provide alternative education?

Local authorities have a duty to provide education for children of compulsory school age who are out of school. Schools would remain open to staff, who could set and mark work, but getting it to and from pupils is an issue that will have to be addressed. We are looking into whether and how DfES can advise or assist local authorities, and will provide more guidance later this year. "

Hmm. Well of course, one way out of this dilemma for them, (which could presumably land them in court for failing to provide most of the schooling population with an appropriate education) would be to say that the parent is responsible for provision of education under these circumstances, and that therefore the child is effectively home educated.

Yeah, that would seem to solve the problem, though maybe not, if they decide to go ahead and make themselves liable for monitoring all home educators, for you can be damn sure that given that home educators already resent LA officers on their doorsteps, they won't be in much of a mind to let anyone in, come the year of a flu epidemic.


R said...

When they had the hurricane in New Orleans, I saw a news clip where an "official" was saying that they needed to get "these children" back into school..."they have already missed out on days of education" These poor children who have lost their parents/friends/loved ones etc and are being rehoused in a new state. The first thing that anyone thinks about is their education. I find it so strange that nobody thinks the children may need a bit of time out!
So in a case of a flu pandemic I expect the authorities to be doing the same thing. Forcing children to produce work even though their loved ones may be critically ill etc.
It's an interesting point that you bring up and I have often thought I am very glad my children are not in school because I think they are not the best place to be when a deadly illness is going around.
The LA would be much better off if they declared everyone temporarily home educated..and yes then a duty to monitor wouldn't be something they would embrace.
As for coming into my the case of bird flu..NOBODY is coming in my house! I think they would be mad to try and enter peoples' homes!
(sorry..that became a bit of a rant!and I'm having trouble moving over to the new blogger so hope this doesn't post twice)

Raquel x

Carlotta said...

Glad you ranted: You said what I wanted to say for me! Hope the blogger move works. (It still won't let me do it at all.)

Becky said...

Call me a cynic, but I think most parents don't mind leaving their children in the hands of those with no medical (or teaching, for that matter) expertise, as long as their access to free child-minding/daycare isn't compromised.

Rather off topic, but my mil who has been a longtime volunteer for the local public school's hot lunch program decided recently to quit, since she kept getting sick from all of colds and such the children passed back and forth...