Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What About This Idea?

A suggestion has been raised in comments here by way of a response to the questions that ex-home educating lawyer Ian Dowty posed here.

The suggestion, which only exists in vague form at present, is that there be some sort of compulsory, perhaps annual lecture, delivered by local authorities or another designated body to home educating children and their families on the subject of children's rights, abuse and how to solve the problem of abuse. It would not involve assessment of children and families but merely ensure that children know about how the government conceives of children's rights.

Several commentators mention some problems with the idea of a summer school for example, but I wonder what they would think of the more limited proposal above?

I have to admit I am tempted, as I have this vision that the whole thing would rapidly proceed to a demonstration of how it is actually HE children who are routinely listened to and have their rights respected and that it is schooled children who are woefully abused by the system; (see Cosmic Seed's tale of woe in the comments below).

UPDATE: In response to some criticisms of the idea, one proposal is that the method of delivery of information be much more flexible than I delineated above. For example, a child could be given a book at a health centre that would be appropriate for their age and ability, a health visitor could help them read it and that a lecture would therefore not be the only compulsory option.

FURTHER UPDATE: From comments, we have a suggestion that discussion/information/training on children's rights and how to stay safe be offered by the state on an invitational basis, with the idea that it is more likely than a compulsory scheme (which abusive people would make an effort to dodge) to reach the people who might need help.


Anonymous said...

I think it is a terrible idea. Insulting, demeaning, and a waste of time. Yes, it could be subverted. I think it's more likely, however, that it could be used as some sort of insidious monitoring exercise by the LA, where families who refuse to attend (of which we would definitely be one) are viewed with suspicion and as though they are hiding something.

How could the compulsory nature of such a lecture be enforced? Send the police round to arrest non-attenders?

Any kind of bargaining - saying well, we don't want you in our homes, but we don't mind coming to you or we'll promise to come to your lecture - is off the table as far as I'm concerned. HE families do not need any kind of monitoring, and we do not need lecturing on children's rights (as you say, it should be more like the other way around - most LAs could certainly do with a lecture on education law, at least.)

Also, any suggestion of this kind of lecture *just* for HE families, and not for school attending families, merely lends credibility to many LAs idea that HE families specifically are a weird lot, hidden away in their homes, not participating in "real life"; and so it is only HE-ers who need lecturing on children's rights, and not those sensible school attending people.

Anonymous said...

I think, possibly, in order to avoid prejudice, it could be directed at all children up to the age of 5 and only continue after that age of 5 for all those who are not in conventional schooling. Schooled children would hear the information in citizenship lessons.

In some ways it might be a coercive exercise (although parents could choose to present it in a positive aspect as 'doing our bit to help vulnerable children' - since that is true) but sometimes we choose obligations for the greater good. Admittedly, people don't always agree on the greater good e.g with innoculations. But I think that most home educators would prefer not to have intrusions at home, so there is an additional motive.

Given that the idea of children knowing their rights, or one could consider the ECM as a representation of their rights, contributes to mental health, it is possible that instead of a lecture this could be offered as part of routine health checks. A quiet place to sit with a book/dvd discussing these issues whilst at the G.P. (Poor over burdened GPs!)

Just a thought.


Anonymous said...

Debs, My message just crossed with yours!

Personally I understand that coercion feels bad but that tiny bit of inconvenience is nothing like the awful experience of children who are seriuosly coerced every day of their lives. Don't you have any sympathy at all for completely powerless children who are seriously abused at home by their carers? It really isn't so hard to think 'ok, having to give my chidren information feels bad (like the injection) but I am contributing to dimiinishing the incidents of abuse...'. I don't see why a loving, respectful parent could possible object to their child, say, reading a book on the subject at the GPs or having it read to them. Why would good parents be scared of ideas that are about respecting children?

You can't claim that they are always in total control of which information they receive at any time and why would they not wish to know about loving families if it rescues children from miserable ones? I bet children would be happy to help.


Anonymous said...

"Don't you have any sympathy at all for completely powerless children who are seriously abused at home by their carers?"

Yes of course. Lecturing HE families, or speaking to them at health checks, or whatever, would do nothing whatsoever to prevent such abuse. Indeed, I see the Gov't, or LAs, or anyone, forcing any kind of information on children as an abuse in itself.

Anonymous said...

Education of children is the responsibility of the parents. If the parents choose to send their children to a state school where they can receive "citizenship classes", that is up to them. If a parent chooses to home educate, whether or not they provide "citizenship classes" or lessons on children's rights, is likewise completely up to them.

The imposition of teaching like this from the Gov't to home educating families would I fear be the thin end of the wedge - and it would not be very long till, since we "accepted" the children's rights lessons, we are also expected to accept being told what and how to teach our children, by the introduction of set subjects, or the national curriculum, for home educators.

For many people, the whole idea of home educating is to avoid the kind of brainwashing that takes place in state schools. Acceptance, or even, unbelievably as we are seeing here, the suggestion from the HE community, or any kind of prescribed learning goes against many families entire ethos of home education.

Anonymous said...

That should be *of* any kind of prescribed... - not *or*.

Firebird said...

Of all the selling out in advance ideas I've heard this is possibly the most stupid and the most counter-productive. It manages to be insulting at the same time as offering NO benefit at all for the theoretical abused child.

Honestly, asking the LA to give a talk on children's rights. Might as well ask McDs to lecture on healthy eating!

Allie said...

As soon as you make such a thing 'compulsory' you scream the power relationship out. Come or be suspected.

I am all for children having the opportunity to hear about strategies for keeping themselves safe. I once had a session on something called proective behaviours, which I thought was excellent.
If LAs want to offer things like this to people in their areas (schooled children too, of course) then that might be helpful to children being abused in any environment. Of course, it won't necessarily reach children suffering abuse at home but does anyone think that a 'compulsory' lecture will? Presumably it would be possible to send apologies to the lecture on grounds of ill-health, holiday or family emergency. Then what?

No. I think it's a non-starter. If LAs want to distribute the publicity for child-line that's fine by me. If they want to offer info about any service then I'm happy with that. But as soon as it's 'compulsory' to be informed about something then I think you've lost the way.

Firebird said...

The PB thing sounds interesting, thanks for the link Allie.

In the real world of HE we are of course concerned about the safety of our children. We do things like take them along to the local Fire Station to learn about fire safety.

If someone OFFERED a talk on rights, a REAL one covering general civil liberties not just some twisted ECM agenda driven BS, then I should think a lot of people would be interested. Of course I personally wouldn't trust the government to do it. For example would they be interested in explaining to HE children the limited powers of a truancy patrol? I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

I would totally disagree that informing children of their rights would achieve nothing at all. Who knows who such information would free and who that would help short term and long term if children all knew that abuse is bad?

Also, if we think long term, a child who is subjected to abuse relentlessly and is NEVER given another way of seeing the world will grow up with mental health problems and will in all likelihood inflict abuse themselves. Why wouldn't we want to do something simple to reduce the likelihood of our great grand-children being abused? A sharing of good information, which frankly we all agree with (!!!), would slowly change society for the better. It is callous to say 'well we can't help those vulnerable children in any way and we aren't going to try' especially if we can do it easily and respectfully. It is also unreasonable to suggest that it is a bad idea particularly as no one has come up with better ones that even begin to address the issue of how to help the vulnerable!

Also on the subject of possible negative judgements of one's family, I would like to suggest that every time we go out in society and speak to anyone we are exposing ourselves to people's potential negative judgements. What about the mother who 'given up' to social services because her child wasn't wearing a jumper when it was cold? Or the vicar who had his son on the roof for a photo and a neighbour called the police? It is ridiculous to assume that being exposed to potential negative judgement is more likely when one's child is being read a book, say, than at any other time one appears in public.

I wouldn't suggest, personally, obligatory lectures - too costly, awkward and potentially unpleasant for certain people. However, what is wrong with something that slots easily into the existing system? We already have free books for all children and pretty well obligatory attendance at health centres.


Anonymous said...

These are just some of mt thoughts about this idea...

Are the LA's (or whoever is drafted in) even capable of the sensitivty that would be required to put the message across without scaring children needlessly and harming them emotionally? How do you tell children, particularly young children about abuse without scaring them with details? I have in mind the adverts by the nspcc or rspca that come on in the middle of the day that show some truly terrifying and traumatic treatment of animals and children. This is obviously deemed appropriate for children's eyes as its not shown after the watershed. Might they think it is ok to show that sort of thing at these lectures?

The well intentioned messages I remember from school lessons about stranger danger and 'say no to strangers' left me pretty scared that just about everyone was out to harm me. It didn't necessarily make me any safer, just more scared and in fact it possibly left me more at risk from harm by people who were known by our family.
How do we/they ensure that children take away the 'right' message?

Some children would not be prepared to sit at all, nevermind through a whole lecture. Others take in information best when it is delivered in short bursts and they need time, sometimes weeks to mull it over and ask questions that clarify what they think they heard.
I don't see how one lecture caters towards the way small children learn and they just risk internalising a muddled and potentially terrifying message.

Finally, if we accept a compulsory lecture on abuse and children's rights does that create a precident for having to accept other lectures on things the govt deems that we parents aren't capable of teaching our children, sex education for example.

Anonymous said...

I think that maybe people don't read my comments!! I shall have to stop signing my initial....there are alternatives to a lecture... we shouldn't get hung up on that.


Firebird said...

And exactly who is going to decide what constitutes good information? The same people who gave us the National Curriculum and the ECM agenda? The idiots at the LA who don't even know what the law says about HE?

I will tell my child more about her rights than the government want her to know. That, and the fact that she is not being abused and is being raised to value herself, not accept bullying or any other BS is the best I can do to protect her, her children and even my great grand-children.

It IS a bad idea and it is NOT my job to come up with solutions to a problem that nobody has actually demonstrated EXISTS.

"pretty well obligatory attendance at health centres"? Really, what country do you live in?

Firebird said...

In response to the update - even if you have a selection of options the problem word continues to be COMPULSORY. I don't accept that there is a problem here that needs solving. You're accepting that HE children are at increased risk of abuse and there is no evidence for that at all.

Yes, children get abused but that's a general problem in society and the solution is to FIX the systems already in place and hire enough social workers. What this country needs is for SS to start doing a good enough job that the public come to believe that if they suspect abuse calling in the authorities would be a GOOD thing to do.

There is no point piddling about with anything else until the basics of the system work.

cosmic seed said...

*shakes head in disbelief and horror*

There is no problem. It is a made up problem. WHY are some people tying themselves in knots trying to find the most suitable way to hand their children over to the state?

I don't my HV anywhere near my children, she is a nasty, manipulative, uninformed dragon. The very idea that my child would want to sit down and have her read to them is laughable. Besides which, HV services are already under enormous strains due to budget cuts, you seriously think this is viable?

I really do despair.

cosmic seed said...

>>We already have free books for all children and pretty well obligatory attendance at health centres. <<

We do? Not in my part of the country we don't.

Anonymous said...

Never thought I'd see such a headlong rush to get on board that last train to Stepford. I'd personally rather perish alongside fellow freedom fighters than live with a smug 'we know best' self selecting elite.

Agents provocateurs seem to be out in force which means there must be a threat to a power base somewhere. I hear such work is well paid, you just have to leave your conscience at home.

Anonymous said...

The thing is I don't disagree with you on the broad issues at all and when I just think of my own family and how I H.E., I have a problem believing that this isn't the best thing for everyone and that no one would abuse their right to H.E. I'd love the review to just disappear and for social workers to suddenly be doubled in numbers and be twice as effective.

But, realisitcally, this is NOT HAPPENING!! We can't afford to be complacent and we can't afford to con ourselves that it is sensible to believe we can avoid the wider issues.

I would love to be the one to decide what constitutes good information and, of course, secretly (or not!) many parents would LOVE to control all the information to which their children have access. Fortunately, children are adaptable, intelligent and have minds of their own so when they read/watch/hear varying sets of ideas they are capapble of judging and assessing their value for themselves. BUT if they NEVER receive different views and only hear their parents' or parent's views, the information with which they can expand their horizons and on which they can reflect is severely limited. As is the case with abused children.

The trouble is that HEers look, to the outside, like people who want to control their children's ideas too much. We, who practice it, know this isn't always true at all, however sometimes it is. We need to come up with a solution to this. And this is what this blog - in this comment - is dedicated to acheiving. Why not come up with good ideas?

I actually WANT to be able to continue to HE as close to the way I can currently as possible, and I think sticking my head in the sand will not achieve this and our future is threatened.


Elaine said...

I ensure my child has access to all forms of knowledge and that includes being aware of activities and events she may wish to partake in.
Being a confident well informed child I am sure she would tell me if she felt I should be lobbying government to introduce compulsory lectures into her life.

Anonymous said...

I can't see any point in carrying on with the discussion here when several participants don't even read the comments properly. It isn't just about you the ahem 'perfect parent and home educator'! Don't any of you have any concern for others?


Elaine said...

Anon you just don't understand that to offer any deal by default says you feel that they are right.
They have absolutely no evidence of home education being a greater risk factor in child abuse , nor in whether abuse is discovered, the nspcc gave the dcsf absolutely no evidence when they asked for the review , the LA's appear unable to substantiate claims that home ed is a 'cover'
Reality is our children are at no more risk than schooled children and therefore we should not allow ourselves to be fooled into reacting as if they were.
Do you really for 1 minute think if dcsf had factual proof there was additional risk that we would be here now??? they have nothing ! the review is an attempt to find evidence lets wait till the report eh?.

lotusbirther said...

I think it is an insulting beyond belief idea. There is no way I want my young children to be subjected to finding out about such things just because another child elsewhere might be experiencing it. It is sickening for us as adults to be confronted with the details of news stories relating to such incidents. To subject children to such information would be emotionally abusive in itself.
To talk about abuse, in particular to young children, cannot be healthy. I am surprised that these issues are even being raised and discussed in this manner, not specifically from the blog pov but rather from the EO document. The questions have no credibility in my opinion so it is hard to be polite about such nonsense.

Anonymous said...

well, here i am again!

Lotus birther, it clearly isn't 'insulting beyond belief' to think of ways in which we can help prevent child abuse. That is an extraordinary reaction. Neither is any one suggesting that people who participate in discussions on this list are likely to be abusive. In fact, the very fact that we are so concerned, usually, about parenting issues and that we take our children's education so seriously makes us the least likely suspects of all!

I would also suggest Lotus Birther that it is too early to dismiss any attempt to think around the subject. The idea, I believe, is to just explain to ALL children (not just HEd ones) what their rights ACTUALLY ARE, it is NOT to show them horrific images of abused children or describe the horrors that a small percentage of our population feels entitled to inflict on its vulnerable members.

Anyway, this type of information is already available to most children in literature and in film and so on. We see good and bad families. Harry Potter certainly features a very cruel family as frequently does Roald Dahl in his stories. The 'Waltons' represent one 'ideal' family for many people, albeit of an older generation. However, not all children will have parents who will read to them or give them access to such metaphors for social cohesion or destruction.

We are not just members of our family, we are also citizens in a community at large and whilst children learn the rules of a family implicitly (even when parents claim there are no rules!), generally speaking they are informed of the 'rules' of a community and their country. This sort of constructive information is something we receive our whole lives - it is nothing unusual.

I agree that it feels like 'if we give them an inch they will take a mile' but I don't think that encouraging the spread of information to all children can be seen as giving much if anything. Obviously, given this idea and others like it are so gentle, they might well reject them and go for something more draconian and more controlling. And, as Elaine says, waiting and seeing what the worst is might well be no bad thing!

Perhaps, indeed, every single home educating family in the UK is really good and there is not one single child or family in danger.


lotusbirther said...

Anonymous D, I AM insulted by these questions and some of the proposed suggestions. It may seem extraordinary to you but I am an individual with my own mind and feelings and I know how I feel about it.
Personal attacks here do nothing to serve us well.

Allie said...

I'm not in favour of this idea (lecture, whatever...) but that doesn't mean that I go along with the idea that young children who are not being abused should somehow be 'protected' by being kept unaware. That doesn't mean sharing all the horrific details but it does mean talking with them about keeping themselves safe. As I say, if such discussion/training/information sharing is being offered by state agencies then I might well ask my children if they'd like to go along. A home-edder in our local area is just in the process of organising such a session for our home ed pre-teens.

I'm sure I'm not alone in being open to *offers*. I think invitational services are just as likely (probably more likely) to actually reach people who might need help than anything compulsory.

The trouble with being asked, "don't you care about children suffering enough to put up with x or y?" is that no-one can show that x or y would actually do anything positive for those suffering children. Indeed, it could be counter-productive. And once you start putting up with interventions it is hard to re-claim your right not to.

Anonymous said...

Lotus Birther, Lol! I too was insulted. I was insulted that you were insulted! But I didn't intend to be personal, even inadvertently, so I do appologise.

Allie, your take on it sounds convincing to me. I can see now that such an idea *might* possibly infringe certain rights, and be perceived as an unwarranted intervention, although I don't think it has to be perceived that way. I agree that the authorities might struggle to make any such provision of information non-coercive.

If a voluntary opportunity to find out about such ideas was available and that turned out to be effective, I would be all for it. It would be better to have that in the first instance. Let's hope that - since change is inevitable according to Badman - what they come up with is at the worst such a voluntarily attended scheme.


Raquel said...

I don't like the idea. I agree with all the points firebird made on this.

Carlotta said...

Hi R,

What do you think of an invitational service?

Firebird said...

Anon D - so you're willing to accept that the government is NOT going to fix the existing child protection system and is NOT going to hire enough social workers to care for the children they know to be at risk and what, just let them get away with it? Then you ask US if WE care about the poor abuse victims?

{long pause}

Do you really not see the inconsistency of your argument?

Do you not see that the assumption of guilt that comes with ALL these suggestions is offensive? Some parents are drug addicts, should we ALL be required to submit to monthly drug screenings? You can come up with any number of criminal offences which could be seen to damage children but do we really want to live in a state where we ALL have to 'prove' our innocence on a regular basis? I wouldn't want to live in a country like.

Raquel said...

"Hi R,

What do you think of an invitational service?"

Well, I just don't get it! If children are being abused by their parents are they going to be taken to an invitational service? If innocent parents don't like what is being offered for whatever reason, and refuse to go, will their absence be a "cause for concern"?

Children can use childline, and can turn to family members or the police . There are ways for children to get help. Admittedly they are often scared to, but that will apply whether they go to school or not.
There is no evidence that home ed. children are any more prone to being abused than schooled children. This is something for society to respond to, not home educating parents.
I'm not sure how that can be done unfortunately.
This is definitely as Mr Heppell said; "a red herring'!

Anonymous said...

Hi Firebird,

I don't think there is an assumption of guilt - and that would indeed be offensive if that were the case. I think there is concern that some children (admittedly a tiny percentage and perhaps the same in HEd children and schooled ones) can not be helped or reached in any way if there is no contact with others. Whilst abused schooled children slip the net so to speak, at least there is a chance that they can reach out or be helped. With HEd/traveller and others, there is a more limited opportunity for such children to be helped.

In THEORY (and please do understand that of course I realise that there are dreadful politicians who fail!) politicians are supposed to try to put into practice ideas that the majority of the public wish to see carried out. They are supposed to represent the public. In order to do this I believe they are given information by their civil servants that indicates what is desired and how best to carry it out. That is how they hope to get re-elected presumably. The majority of the public DO wish to see the awful cases such as Spry and Baby P eradicated where possible. Home Education is awkward for most of the public partly because it is often misunderstood (and perhaps indeed one should fight to the death for what is right - until recently I did think so!) but also because it is easy to hide the young who have no powers of their own.

Recently, good friends told me about an English home educating family they stayed with in Spain, in their Spanish holiday home. The home educators live there half the time. It is a very arty couple, who are very successful in their area, and they have four children. When everyone had finished their dinner, a tablet was put on each child's plate. They had to take it. These were LSD tabs I was told. This apparently happened regularly. One of the children said she didn't feel like it today but was told she had to, and she only got out of taking it because a brother said he'd have two. This isn't the first home ed family I have heard about/met who is exploiting the freedom, most of us use for our children's benefit, to inflict extraordinary damage.

Do you really think we can just say 'let them ring child line?' They don't get to see the number in the school loos, they don't have access to the internet and external information (natural style parenting - no computers). They can't borrow a mobile. So maybe they think it is perfectly normal to take drugs every day. Maybe they are rarely in a fit enough state to do anything anyway.


Raquel said...

Hi D,
At what moment did your good friends report this family to the police? They did didn't they...or did they just sit and watch children being administered drugs against their wishes?
And I thought LSD came on little bits of paper...not in pill form..though I'm no expert!
Also if this family were doing this to their children, would they do this in front of other people?
The whole thing sounds very strange to me.
If it is true, maybe you should find out where they are and do something about it.

Elaine said...

Anon are you a home educator or an LA official wanting more access to home ed children ?
Because to repeat heresay tales that you have not verified on a home ed blog screams loud and clear that your interests do not lie in the preservation of families rights.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Sadly it is a true tale. These people don't as far as I am aware make things up. And sadly they immediately clammed up when I wanted to know who they were. So as a mother and a home educator I was very upset. I am not responsible for other people's moral stance and couldn't persuade them to intervene or complain. And, in fact, as anonymity is respected (unfortunately it would seem in this case) there is no harm in mentioning it as an example.

I thought we all knew that a tiny, tiny percentage of home educators get things. That's what this discussion is about, just as a probably much bigger percentage of schooling parents get it wrong! My point is that this is a genuine problem.


Elaine said...

child home sick seen doc school aware
do LA go into home to ensure child is being cared for adequately ?
it happens that sick children do not receive adequate care whilst ill

school holidays do LA go to each child's home ensure they are cared for and not being subject to abuse ?
it happens that children are neglected/abused during holidays

Abuse happens to a minority of children but until now nowhere on this planet has it been deemed appropriate to enter the homes of families on the assumption that they MAY be abusing their children.

Anonymous said...

Obviously that should read 'get it wrong'.

I would like to say that no one need fear that I am an official. Carlotta knows who I am.

However, I can't understand why people think that abusive parents don't exist everywhere including HE. I certainly would not dream of using the example of people I have met without heavily disguising identity. We all quote examples of children maltreated in school (whilst respecting their anonymithy) so it isn't reasonable to think that there should be one rule for one set of people and another for us.


Allie said...

Well, anonymous, if I seriously believed a child was being force-fed LSD then I'd contact my local police and report all I knew. Have you done that? We are, as you say, responsible for our own actions, or lack of them.

Anonymous said...

It is unlikely that there are many home educated children being abused because there aren't many home educated children.

I'd be less hostile towards the whole absolutely nutty idea of surveilling all of us if LAs and government concentrated on making children safe in schools. 450,000 children a week bullied. 450,000.
It makes no sense to me that a group of people (government, charities etc.) are so concerned about home educating families when they patently could care less about something which IS in their remit and that is SCHOOLCHILDREN'S suffering.


Raquel said...

I went to the NSPCC site and found this page:


which states that in England between 2002-2003 there were 30,200 substantiated cases of abuse,
(570,220 were reported!)
So if you apply the same rates of abuse to the 50,000 home educated children in the UK, you will get the following:

125 children overall will be abused.
Of the 125:
43 neglect
23.75 physical
12.5 sexual
22.5 emotional

compared to 30,200 in England alone.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (D). I'm very curious about how your idea would work in practise. Could you explain how your idea of voluntary/mandatory lectures would be used to help there children that you mentioned?


Carlotta said...

Hi folks,

Yes, just to say, I do know D and she is utterly to be trusted as a genuine home educator and a truth-seeker who will at times, put arguments against her own arguments to see if her arguments stack up.

I suspect that she is putting this particular case so well in order to see if it could possibly survive your criticisms.

Along with loving her with a passion, I do regularly debate with her in vigorous fashion and we derive SO much from these kind of dialectical conversations. Whenever we do disagree, (which is not often actually) I think we both manage to do this extremely well, with a genuine consideration of the other pov!

Carlotta said...

"I'm very curious about how your idea would work in practise. Could you explain how your idea of voluntary/mandatory lectures would be used to help there children that you mentioned?"

I think this is exactly the sort of question we should be asking. I am trying to imagine it would have been like to have received, say, the information that I had a right to be listened to and my views considered as a child. This would have been revelatory at the time, I think?

Anonymous said...

Absolutely, Carlotta. That's hitting the nail on the head.

A comparison could be how liberating it is - in her head at the very least - when a woman hears or reads a list of what behaviour consitutes abusive behaviour. This doesn't even involve a list of awful things that might be too upsetting for a child, just simple things like, as Carlotta says, being listened to respectfully, or not talked over constantly, or not yelled at and hit. No traumatic stuff, yet potentially life changing and something to hold on to when things are bad.

Btw, I say 'women' above because it usually is a woman according to statistics.

Anonymous said...

Concerned at a comment I had read here, I spoke to some HE frends in Spain earlier who immediately felt the finger had been pointed at them by the anonymous "D". It now appears that D's remarks were simply part of some disingenuous experiment in devils' advocacy by Carlotta and her middle class mates. What a jape, eh? I for one won't reading this blog again.

Raquel said...

But how would these lectures have helped the children in the *scenario*, if their parents didn't take them? How would they have received it?
I also found the idea of a family being pinpointed like this, with quite a few identifying details, and only on hearsay wuite worrying. If the *good friends* got this wrong, this could be very damaging,

Raquel said...

"I suspect that she is putting this particular case so well in order to see if it could possibly survive your criticisms."

sorry..now I'm confused..but was this made up?

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify, Raquel, the particular case is true in essence but is of course disguised to respect anonymity. I should have made that much clearer than I did. The only reason I cited a case at all is because of the fact that so many simply do not believe that abuse happens in HE families. And if they do accept it, they think that there are already enough measures in place to help. This isn't certain. Statistically, it is of course much less significant in the HE community than in other social groups, inevitably as we are not a large group - yet! However, if you remember from previous debates, I believe it was Stephen Heppell (though am not sure) who mentioned that all schools and other institutions were under-going the same rigorous process, so we are not being singled out. (Whether that is true or not I don't know!)

But I can't get it out of my head that there must be a way of helping that tiny percentage of children who are vulnerable without losing our privacy and right to AHE without state intrusion. Isn't it worth considering this from as many angles as possible as change is, so we are told, inevitable? It might be that the best thing to do is fight should change be for the worse but we are not at that point yet.


Raquel said...

hmm well I prefer that people don't play games. I unfortunately think statistically there will be abuse in home ed. families, as we are members of the human race. But no more than any other section of society so special rules should not apply to us. I will bow out of this now.

Carlotta said...

"Concerned at a comment I had read here, I spoke to some HE frends in Spain earlier who immediately felt the finger had been pointed at them by the anonymous "D". It now appears that D's remarks were simply part of some disingenuous experiment in devils' advocacy by Carlotta and her middle class mates. What a jape, eh? I for one won't reading this blog again."

Hi Anon,

I do hope you are reading this again as information has emerged which will clear your friends. I do hope they have seen that the finger was not pointed at them, as D says that she has disguised the case for the purposes of our discussion here.

However, I might be a tad concerned (if I didn't know better) if they did feel that the finger had been pointed at them. Is it just that they live in Spain or do they give their children dangerous drugs?

Further, you are right to suspect that you cannot be sure that this is some disingenuous jape, because it isn't. It is a genuine attempt to seek a solution to the problem of how to minimise the possibility of child abuse.

Making a stab at people's motives, as you do above, is anyhow a bit of a side track because rather than discussing whether the suggestion from D would actually stack up, you choose to attack the motives of the person who puts the argument. Can you see how this might distract from seeking the truth of an argument?

Whatever the rates of abuse in the HE community, whether they be more or less than the schooled community, the problem seems to be not that we are more highly suspected, but that our children could be more invisible. We could, conceivably, be hiding our children under the stairs for years at a time. They have just found another such child in Russia I hear via the MSM...was raised by dogs and cats. No-one knew she existed just as no-one realised what absolutely appalling things were going on in the Fritzel's home for decades at a time. It difficult for the UK authorities to know if there are such cases out there, or how to distinguish genuine but unscrutinized home educators from those who claim to be such but who might be using it as a cover.

This, I believe, might be one of the main problems that this review seeks to resolve.

I actually think that the feral child example is actually an impossible problem to solve - nothing Graham Badman can do will prevent it. These sorts of families may not even register a child's birth, and won't be claiming Child Benefit, so ContactPoint will not reveal them. And unless authorities look under the stairs of every household in the country, we won't find them out.

However, ContactPoint will pick up on those claiming benefits, and then what? Is it enough to ask these families for a philosophy of edcuation, and a diary of work or would it be worth insisting that such a family attend a clinic or an HE meeting where the children could be informed of their rights?

Just as a PS, Please note that ad hominem's are not permitted on this blog for the reason that they too distract from the argument. eg: whether or not I and my friends are middle class has no bearing whatsoever on the truth or otherwise of the argument.

Further, classism is as unpleasant and unthinking as any other sort of prejudice. How would you like it if I said, well your argument is no good simply because you are a working class chav?

I don't want to remove comments as there are frequently good arguments mixed in, so I just beg that people do try to avoid them as a general rule.

Many thanks.