Friday, December 28, 2007

If You Home Educate and Live in Bromley....

...get out fast, for otherwise you will find that your family is no longer your responsibility.

From the woeful misreading of current legislation that is the Bromley Safeguarding Children Board Guidance on Home Education...(check out the bit in red for the quite extraordinary appropriation of parental duties by the state):

"Safeguarding Issues:

....Being out of school means the child does not have the routine monitoring of their welfare and day to day contact with a range of professionals that is afforded to children at school. This will require all agencies in contact with home educated children to ensure that the child’s welfare is being promoted.

Safeguarding Children in Education (DfES 2004) states:

“responsibility for children who are educated at home by their parents are not solely education issues. These matters are best dealt with by a multi agency approach and should be addressed in locally agreed procedures in accordance with the principles set out in ‘Working Together’ and the Assessment Framework.”

The ‘Every Child Matters’ 2004 framework sets out the criteria by which all children’s well being should be measured. That is that they should be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and, in due course, experience economic well being. Attendance at school plays an important part, not just in ensuring that a child achieves academically, but it also providing routine health surveillance and opportunities for social interaction that promote greater awareness of safety issues and wider contribution to the community. It is therefore implicit that, as well as ensuring a child receiving home education is meeting the needs of the education curriculum, the local authority should ensure that outcomes for home educated children in all dimensions of the Every Child Matters agenda are promoted.

To this end Bromley Safeguarding Children Board requires agencies within Bromley to ensure they promote the well being of home educated children in all aspects of their development.

Process within Bromley: (from October 2006)

When a parent elects to home educate the relevant school will pass details of the child to the Education Welfare Service, who will complete a Common Assessment Framework checklist within 10 days. If the checklist indicates immediate concerns the EWS will either undertake a CAF or refer the case to Social Care, if the case meets Social Care referral thresholds. If the CAF checklist does not indicate any immediate concerns for the child then the EWS will complete a CAF within 6 weeks. Completing the CAF will allow the EWS team to ensure that those aspects of a child’s life outside of education that would normally be promoted through school are being addressed. If, after the completion of the CAF it is clear that all of the home educated child’s needs are being met then the EWS Team will undertake the continued monitoring of the educational arrangements for the child. The EWS Team will request that monitoring of the child’s education takes place within the family home and that the child is part of the discussions around their education. This will enable the team to ensure that the Every Child Matters 5 outcomes are being met.

If the initial CAF assessment raises concerns about how some aspects of the child’s care might be met or there is knowledge of past or current concerns in relation to a child whose parents have elected to home educate, then the EWS assessor will convene a CAF meeting (advice/assistance can be accessed from the CAF Team) to plan how best the needs of the child can be addressed in line with section 17 of the Children Act 1989. This puts a duty on Local Authorities to safeguard and promote the welfare of children within their area who are in need and to provide a range and level of services appropriate to those children’s needs. This may include requesting that Children's Social Care undertaking an initial assessment, under the ‘Framework for the Assessment of children in Need’.

Where there are previous or current concerns regarding the child but the parents do not co-operate with an assessment under the Common Assessment Framework or an initial assessment by Children’s Social Care then it will be deemed that the parent is not behaving as a reasonable parent and Children’s Social Care will consider whether the threshold for convening a child protection conference has been reached.

Where any agency comes into contact with a child being educated at home and has concerns for their welfare then they should follow the procedure outlined in What To Do If You’re Worried A Child Is Being Abused – HM Government 2003 and refer to an appropriate agency.

September 2006.


Allie said...

That's horrible.

Anonymous said...

Good grief! How did they come up with that interpretation!! (encapsulated in "The responsibility for overseeing children educated other than in school is shared between services within the Children’s Services Department of the London Borough of Bromley.")

Since when was there automatically need for big brother? Perhaps this interpretation needs to be challenged before it becomes widespread...


Carlotta said...

Will check to see if AHEd have emerged from the other side of Christmas and are onto it!

Fiona said...

It's crap isn't it ! We ranted about this to DCSF at last meeting and have more national and local ranting planned. De facto assumption that every home ed child is referred to Social Services.GRRRRRRR. Bromley wanted London boroughs to adopt it as pilot, dunno what came of that ambition, need to check up on latest Safeguarding Board Council minutes.


Anonymous said...

I read this with my mouth gaping open in disbelief! I'm sure not only AHED but ARCH may well be on their case!