Fears over welfare of home-schooled children in Worcestershire

Fears over welfare of home-schooled children in Worcestershire

Fears over welfare of home-schooled children in Worcestershire

First published in News by

MORE needs to be done to protect the wellbeing of home-schooled children in Worcestershire, the chairman of a body working to safeguard young people in the county has said.

Speaking at a meeting of the Worcestershire Health and Well-Being Board on Tuesday, July 22, independent chairman of the county’s Safeguarding Children Board, Diana Fulbrook, said she was concerned there is no provision to monitor the safety of youngsters whose parents chose to educate them at home privately.

Presenting the board’s annual report, Mrs Fulbrook said: “I am pleased to say that, from all the evidence we have, it’s our view that children in Worcestershire are safe.

“But we have identified areas for improvement.”

Vice chairman of Worcestershire Healthwatch Carol Thompson said that she was concerned that neither the county council or any other body had powers to protect home-schooled children from abuse.

She added: “One of the things that came out is the fact that home-educated children seem to go off the radar”.

“I really think we need to keep on top of this.”

There are currently 300 home-schooled pupils in Worcestershire, but a recent NSPCC report expressed concerns these children could become ‘invisible’ to authorities trying to protect them.

Mrs Fulbrook described the issue as “a real concern” for the board.

“The vast majority of home-educated children are in a very safe position,” she said.

“But the local authority does not have the authority to protect them.

“Nationally, the lobby for parents is so strong that local government has said its intention is not to do anything about it.

“Despite a lot of evidence around the county, which has ended up with a few children dying, there isn’t much will to do something about this.”

“The safeguarding board is of the view we need to keep lobbying,” she said.

The Worcestershire Safeguarding Children Board is a multi-agency body working to reduce the impact of domestic abuse, mental illness and substance misuse on children and their families.

Other questions raised in the report included the impact on children of changes to the county’s social services, recruitment and feedback.

Comments (8)

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2:46pm Mon 11 Aug 14

richard007_1999 says...

Once more the spectre of Welfare raises it head in Worcestershire.
It seems that budget protection and allocation always starts the scare stories, if people are scared enough then county can do anything they like in the name of safety.

Since when have teachers been the guardians of the welfare of our children, come to mention it when has the County and LEA performed these duties.

As so many of us can testify the welfare of our children is precisely why we home educate them. Our children have been subjected to bullying, physical and mental attacks while part of the Education system. They were lucky if they spent 60 minutes a week with a teacher, i fail to see how a teacher would be able to safeguard our children in the current class sizes already existing.

Under home education our children come into contact with more adults than most would manage in a full term of schooling. Our childrens typical week consists of Gymnastics, Music Lessons, Martial arts, Art lessons, Day trips to National trust sites etc. Plenty of opportunity to encounter all the professionals that if there were issues would have raised them long since with the correct authorities, namely social services and the police force. Giving the local county and LEA more powers to intrude is a mistake of epic proprotions.

No mention is made of under fives, does this mean that the county and LEA have plans to also force physical inspections on children at their homes? What about certification of the inspectors, security checks and the like? What is their experience that means they are fit for that role? are we talking a whole new raft of employment opportunities for security and prison officers now?

This erosion of basic human rights is a gross error and violates on so many levels. Lets not forget that innocent until proven guilty forms the basis of our entire society. The unspoken accusation of guilt implicit in this statement is insulting, degrading and totally unfounded.

And no dout the rejoiner that the county would level is that if we have nothing to hide we would be open to inspection. That takes no account of the damage and harm already inflicted on most familes due to the heavy handed nature of the county and LEA when dealing with Home educating familes.

The current methods employed by the LEA and county are cursory at best and downright laughable for most of the time. How so called professionals can make a decision about the education a child is receiving in a visit that lasts up to 2 hours is beyond me, given that the education system utilize a method of continuous assement to judge a childs progress.

The education system is only a general purpose system, designed to teach a wide range of topics to children who have a wide range of abilities, wheras home educating families must provide an education that is targeted to the childs abilities,age, current standing and aptitudes.
Once more the spectre of Welfare raises it head in Worcestershire. It seems that budget protection and allocation always starts the scare stories, if people are scared enough then county can do anything they like in the name of safety. Since when have teachers been the guardians of the welfare of our children, come to mention it when has the County and LEA performed these duties. As so many of us can testify the welfare of our children is precisely why we home educate them. Our children have been subjected to bullying, physical and mental attacks while part of the Education system. They were lucky if they spent 60 minutes a week with a teacher, i fail to see how a teacher would be able to safeguard our children in the current class sizes already existing. Under home education our children come into contact with more adults than most would manage in a full term of schooling. Our childrens typical week consists of Gymnastics, Music Lessons, Martial arts, Art lessons, Day trips to National trust sites etc. Plenty of opportunity to encounter all the professionals that if there were issues would have raised them long since with the correct authorities, namely social services and the police force. Giving the local county and LEA more powers to intrude is a mistake of epic proprotions. No mention is made of under fives, does this mean that the county and LEA have plans to also force physical inspections on children at their homes? What about certification of the inspectors, security checks and the like? What is their experience that means they are fit for that role? are we talking a whole new raft of employment opportunities for security and prison officers now? This erosion of basic human rights is a gross error and violates on so many levels. Lets not forget that innocent until proven guilty forms the basis of our entire society. The unspoken accusation of guilt implicit in this statement is insulting, degrading and totally unfounded. And no dout the rejoiner that the county would level is that if we have nothing to hide we would be open to inspection. That takes no account of the damage and harm already inflicted on most familes due to the heavy handed nature of the county and LEA when dealing with Home educating familes. The current methods employed by the LEA and county are cursory at best and downright laughable for most of the time. How so called professionals can make a decision about the education a child is receiving in a visit that lasts up to 2 hours is beyond me, given that the education system utilize a method of continuous assement to judge a childs progress. The education system is only a general purpose system, designed to teach a wide range of topics to children who have a wide range of abilities, wheras home educating families must provide an education that is targeted to the childs abilities,age, current standing and aptitudes. richard007_1999
  • Score: 24

6:22pm Mon 11 Aug 14

bobbysgirlfirst says...

This is of course, based on stuff and nonsense.
There are powers for every LA to see children where there is a welfare concern.

One has to wonder why the authorities fail to use those powers, if they do have concerns...

I am the Midlands Regional Representative of 'Education Otherwise', the home education support organisation, and know that the figures of children being removed from school in Worcestershire is rising-and a very large percentage of those children are removed because the system fails to keep them safe!

Parents wanting to know more about home education meet ups, social and educational workshops held within the county, can contact the local community here:
http://www.worcester
shire-home-educators
.co.uk/
This is of course, based on stuff and nonsense. There are powers for every LA to see children where there is a welfare concern. One has to wonder why the authorities fail to use those powers, if they do have concerns... I am the Midlands Regional Representative of 'Education Otherwise', the home education support organisation, and know that the figures of children being removed from school in Worcestershire is rising-and a very large percentage of those children are removed because the system fails to keep them safe! Parents wanting to know more about home education meet ups, social and educational workshops held within the county, can contact the local community here: http://www.worcester shire-home-educators .co.uk/ bobbysgirlfirst
  • Score: 19

10:43pm Mon 11 Aug 14

FranHH says...

“Despite a lot of evidence around the county, which has ended up with a few children dying, there isn’t much will to do something about this.”

Can you please provide the evidence link for this information, thank you.
“Despite a lot of evidence around the county, which has ended up with a few children dying, there isn’t much will to do something about this.” Can you please provide the evidence link for this information, thank you. FranHH
  • Score: 9

7:31am Tue 12 Aug 14

Ameanock says...

It is just another angle to try and get the public behind allowing the LEA enforcing regulations and monitoring on Home Educators. Make people scared, and throw a few false claims in, band a few fears about, and the public become easy to control and will be behind almost anything! Even to take away our basic human rights - to educate and look after our own children! Who loves their children the most? Parents!

I had an absolutely horrific time at school - and evidence is that it is worse now than then - bullying can continue via "social" networks. School is not what I would consider a safe place for children.

I would also like evidence to back up the claim of children dying!? This must have slipped the "radar", because I have not hears of all these home educated children dying.
It is just another angle to try and get the public behind allowing the LEA enforcing regulations and monitoring on Home Educators. Make people scared, and throw a few false claims in, band a few fears about, and the public become easy to control and will be behind almost anything! Even to take away our basic human rights - to educate and look after our own children! Who loves their children the most? Parents! I had an absolutely horrific time at school - and evidence is that it is worse now than then - bullying can continue via "social" networks. School is not what I would consider a safe place for children. I would also like evidence to back up the claim of children dying!? This must have slipped the "radar", because I have not hears of all these home educated children dying. Ameanock
  • Score: 6

12:50pm Tue 12 Aug 14

Lou Jones says...

Nonsense article used to fill column inches.

I took my son out of mainstream school as the school failed to protect him many times and I feared for his safety.

You see, my son has High Functioning Autism. The school did not consider his learning difficulties severe enough to warrant a "statement", so special school was never an option.

On several occasions, my son was left outside unsupervised without staff knowing where he was. The school gate was open and he could have just walked out onto the street. Two autistic children at the same school (one at nursery age) did exactly that, prompting staff to search the nearby streets and resulting in huge anxiety for parents. Luckily for the school, none of the children came to harm, but it was not a risk I was willing to take.

Now my son is home educated, I know he is in a safe environment and his needs are being catered for. The other home-ed parents I have met are a dedicated bunch who put their children FIRST to such an extent that they are willing to make sacrifices of finances and time in order to give their children the best start in life.

Child abuse occurs in school educated children, toddlers and babies. Why demonise home educators? It is the responsibility of EVERYONE to report suspected child abuse and the responsibility of the police and social services to intervene when necessary. Home education has nothing to do with it.
Nonsense article used to fill column inches. I took my son out of mainstream school as the school failed to protect him many times and I feared for his safety. You see, my son has High Functioning Autism. The school did not consider his learning difficulties severe enough to warrant a "statement", so special school was never an option. On several occasions, my son was left outside unsupervised without staff knowing where he was. The school gate was open and he could have just walked out onto the street. Two autistic children at the same school (one at nursery age) did exactly that, prompting staff to search the nearby streets and resulting in huge anxiety for parents. Luckily for the school, none of the children came to harm, but it was not a risk I was willing to take. Now my son is home educated, I know he is in a safe environment and his needs are being catered for. The other home-ed parents I have met are a dedicated bunch who put their children FIRST to such an extent that they are willing to make sacrifices of finances and time in order to give their children the best start in life. Child abuse occurs in school educated children, toddlers and babies. Why demonise home educators? It is the responsibility of EVERYONE to report suspected child abuse and the responsibility of the police and social services to intervene when necessary. Home education has nothing to do with it. Lou Jones
  • Score: 7

2:01pm Tue 12 Aug 14

Ginger2014 says...

This is a poorly researched and lazy article. The writer is clearly all too willing to take what these people say as truth without any reference to the facts. Go and do some proper research. Of course these people are going to say these things. They have their own jobs and budgets to protect.
This is a poorly researched and lazy article. The writer is clearly all too willing to take what these people say as truth without any reference to the facts. Go and do some proper research. Of course these people are going to say these things. They have their own jobs and budgets to protect. Ginger2014
  • Score: 6

5:51pm Tue 12 Aug 14

Penfold888 says...

I wonder if the person writing this article realises the damage that it can cause. I do not really care that neighbours and casual acquaintances think I am odd for home educating. However, I do have a problem with the way the article may fuel prejudice that will potentially be harmful to my children. My children both attended school and were desperately unhappy to the point that their physical and emotional health was at risk. We did what any loving parents would do and sought an alternative. Home education is not an easy option, but it has given my children the childhood they deserve. One of my daughters feels ashamed to say she is home educated when she meets new people. This is not because she does not appreciate the freedoms it affords and the way it has enabled her to develop at her own pace and pursue her passions, it is because she has encountered sideways looks and negative comments from people who are ignorant about home ed or who have read one-dimensional articles like this one. Please consider how your words can be harmful to the very subject of your article: children.
I wonder if the person writing this article realises the damage that it can cause. I do not really care that neighbours and casual acquaintances think I am odd for home educating. However, I do have a problem with the way the article may fuel prejudice that will potentially be harmful to my children. My children both attended school and were desperately unhappy to the point that their physical and emotional health was at risk. We did what any loving parents would do and sought an alternative. Home education is not an easy option, but it has given my children the childhood they deserve. One of my daughters feels ashamed to say she is home educated when she meets new people. This is not because she does not appreciate the freedoms it affords and the way it has enabled her to develop at her own pace and pursue her passions, it is because she has encountered sideways looks and negative comments from people who are ignorant about home ed or who have read one-dimensional articles like this one. Please consider how your words can be harmful to the very subject of your article: children. Penfold888
  • Score: 7

6:14pm Thu 14 Aug 14

Freyja says...

Such a needless emotive article. The UK government insists on treating its own residents as the enemy continually. Everyone of us is a child abuser until proven otherwise. As if we don't already have enough paranoia and mistrust amongst us. To work in a school as a volunteer a DBS check is required, because yes, 83 year old Mrs Smith who lives around the corner might actually be a child abuser too.
Home educators take their children out of school, (usually) because they care a great deal about their children's well being.
The government can and will do anything when they are able to say "its all in the name of safeguarding vulnerable groups" lets have a bit of common sense here and stop using fear tactics as a tool.
Unfortunately no matter how much safeguarding is in place there will always be a few who fall through the net. It is then the authorities need to leap into action. Not in unnecessary circumstances as is the case with home schooled children.
At the moment home schooled children are the responsibility of their loving parents and the LEA have no legal rights poking their noses in.
With so many busy bodies around these days, in the light of media caused sensationalism and paranoia, the authorities may rest assured if children seem to be in any harm in most cases someone will be alerted to the fact. Poking their noses in where they are not required will not help anyone.
Such a needless emotive article. The UK government insists on treating its own residents as the enemy continually. Everyone of us is a child abuser until proven otherwise. As if we don't already have enough paranoia and mistrust amongst us. To work in a school as a volunteer a DBS check is required, because yes, 83 year old Mrs Smith who lives around the corner might actually be a child abuser too. Home educators take their children out of school, (usually) because they care a great deal about their children's well being. The government can and will do anything when they are able to say "its all in the name of safeguarding vulnerable groups" lets have a bit of common sense here and stop using fear tactics as a tool. Unfortunately no matter how much safeguarding is in place there will always be a few who fall through the net. It is then the authorities need to leap into action. Not in unnecessary circumstances as is the case with home schooled children. At the moment home schooled children are the responsibility of their loving parents and the LEA have no legal rights poking their noses in. With so many busy bodies around these days, in the light of media caused sensationalism and paranoia, the authorities may rest assured if children seem to be in any harm in most cases someone will be alerted to the fact. Poking their noses in where they are not required will not help anyone. Freyja
  • Score: 1

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