Schoolhouse http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk Supporting home education in Scotland Sat, 24 Jan 2015 20:59:08 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.1.1 New NO2NP roadshow dates announced http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/new-no2np-roadshow-dates-announced http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/new-no2np-roadshow-dates-announced#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 12:13:57 +0000 alisonp http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/?p=5362 New roadshow dates have been announced for January and February 2015, when the NO2NP Campaign will be visiting Livingston, Greenock and Dunfermline.

 

 

 

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Children ‘missing’ from what, exactly? http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/children-missing-from-what-exactly http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/children-missing-from-what-exactly#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 13:07:16 +0000 alisonp http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/?p=5337 BBC Scotland reports emotively today on the alleged ‘Toll of kids missing from school‘.

 

We are unreliably informed that:

 

“In some cases, children are marked as missing because they have moved house and failed to tell the school. Agencies say others disappear for more “sinister” reasons including abuse and forced marriage. In the past five years, 2,619 children aged three to 16 have gone missing.”

 

Well, forgive us for pointing out the obvious, but compulsory education age is defined by primary legislation and it doesn’t start at three! No matter how much pressure parents are put under to register their children at nurseries younger and younger as part of the ‘left luggage generation’, the law is (still) crystal clear on what constitutes ‘school age’.

 

A further deeply disturbing statement by a North Lanarkshire Council spokesman, quoted in the same report, suggests that home educated children are ‘missing from education’, which is patently not the case. That blatant misrepresentation  prompted us to submit a FOIA request to find out a bit more about the policy based evidence that is apparently being concocted by local authorities and other ‘agencies’, aided and abetted by the old familiar ‘fix it’ calls from the BBC.


Definitions of ‘missing’ children. Missing from what?

 

Dear North Lanarkshire Council,


This FOI request relates to the following statement which the BBC reports as having been made by a spokesman for North Lanarkshire Council’s Learning and Leisure Services:

 

“The reasons for a child or young person being classified as missing include returning to their original country, moving to another school in the UK or being home educated.”


Since home educated children are, by definition, not ‘missing from education’, as confirmed by guidance, that statement is clearly misleading and damaging to members of a minority group who are exercising an entirely lawful choice.

 

I would be grateful if you would provide me with the following information:

 

1.  How many children of compulsory education age (as defined in the Education (Scotland) Act 1980) have been recorded as ‘missing’ by North Lanarkshire Council in the past year?

 

2.  From which *compulsory* services were these school-age children recorded as ‘missing’ (bearing in mind that school attendance is not mandatory as the provision of education is a parental responsibility)?

 

3.  How many ‘missing’ children were recorded as such due to their lawful status of being electively home educated, whether known to the council or not?

 

4.  How many children under compulsory education age (as defined in the Education (Scotland) Act 1980) have been recorded as ‘missing’ by North Lanarkshire Council in the past year?

 

5.  From which *compulsory services* were these children under school-age (which is attained the August following a child’s fifth birthday) recorded as ‘missing’ (bearing in mind that health visiting, nurseries and third sector ‘services’ can be declined by parents unless a child is subject to compulsory – not voluntary - measures of care or supervision)?

 

6.  How many children who are/were subject to (a) compulsory and (b) voluntary measures of care or supervision have been recorded as ’missing’ by North Lanarkshire Council in the past year?

 

7.  Finally, please provide a copy of North Lanarkshire Council’s policy relating to the ‘mining’ and sharing of citizens’ (including children’s) personal data, including the requisite procedures for obtaining the informed consent of data subjects for processing all such data.

 

 

Home Ed Forums covers all the bases in this thread, including Glasgow City Council’s ‘track and trace’ system for children who leave the country with their families quite legally. We suspect they are going to be very busy (and probably bankrupt) as many more families choose to leave Scotland as a result of the ill conceived GIRFEC and its army of data stealing state snoopers. We would contend that our money would be far better spent on tackling the child poverty that disproportionately blights Glasgow, but the state evidently has different priorities and plans for our children.

 

 

 

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A Named Parent for every professional? http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/a-named-parent-for-every-professional http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/a-named-parent-for-every-professional#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 14:42:22 +0000 alisonp http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/?p=5286 The Myles Bradbury case brings into sharp focus the inherent dangers of the universal Scottish Named Person scheme, which promotes professional power-over access to every child and facilitates the gathering and sharing of every child’s (and every associated adult’s) sensitive personal data among a large number of other professionals without informed consent. As was contended in the recent judicial review, this flies in the face of Article 8 of the ECHR and is in blatant breach of the ‘consent’ and ‘necessity’ tests in both the UK Data Protection Act and EU Directives.


Since publishing some anonymised case studies to demonstrate the dangers of unfettered data sharing by GIRFEC apologists and the SHANARRI faithful, we have been contacted by a number of other parents who report being “hounded”, “harassed” and even “threatened with further action” if they do not “fully co-operate”’ with intrusive professionals.  Not fully co-operating apparently includes exercising the right to withhold or withdraw consent for data processing and even making a statutory subject access request! Perhaps Aileen Campbell needs to revisit the definition of “voluntary engagement” and consider Gordon Brewer’s comments (“Isn’t there something a bit East German about this?”) in the light of these reported routine forced interventions by what amounts to a Scottish Stasi.

 

One frightened family is currently at the collective mercy of up to 20 different professionals who regularly meet to report on their latest “life events” –  having already scrutinised and shared the health and social work histories of each and every family member – despite the “issue of concern” (which was originally self referred) relating solely to a child with additional support needs.  Hardly the signposting service it has been claimed when it has been made clear that there is no choice in the matter for these parents while an army of professionals produce reports subjectively detailing and assessing every aspect of the family’s private life. They only ever asked for a bit of assistance with speech therapy, but are now fighting to retain any vestige of privacy and just want to be left alone. If they ever extricate themselves from the tick box tyranny to which they have been subjected, they have resolved to avoid all public services in the future.

 

The fact that Myles Bradbury was one such ‘caring’ professional is not lost on families. As one of our Facebook followers commented:

 

“A perfect example why the named person is a danger to our children. Can anyone imagine anything worse than this animal having access to all our private and confidential info and a legal right over our kids . Doesn’t bear thinking about.”


And judging by the inquiries that are currently being conducted into historical institutional child abuse and cover-ups, this case is no doubt the tip of a very large iceberg of professional abuse, some of which has been mapped here.

 

Some parents are already leaving for Ireland to pre-empt compulsory measures by professionals in Scotland and across the UK, and John Hemming MP this week used parliamentary privilege to highlight the case of one young Scottish family who have fled there for the second time following allegedly “vindictive proceedings” by Fife Council.

 

Meanwhile, in Dundee, the Serious Crime Division was tasked in September with reviewing allegations relating to Kingspark special school, but only after parents fought tooth and nail for an investigation into their complaints going back several years. As reported in the Courier:

 

“Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House has referred several cases of alleged ill-treatment of disabled children dating back to 2010, and how the police handled the claims, to the specialist unit.

The allegations, which were previously reported by parents and investigated by the then Tayside Police, are that their children were returning home with unexplained injuries.”


Of course most professionals do an excellent job and we recognise that they also have a role in assisting those parents who seek their support to ensure the best possible care for children – but how might we identify the small minority who may become a danger to our children and/or compromise their wellbeing in the future? Should there be a compulsory Named Parent for every professional with a remit to detect pre-crime by gathering every bit of sensitive personal data on each and every one of them for sharing with the parents of every child they may come into contact with? What’s good for the professional goose must surely be equally good for the parental gander, after all – or would professionals consider such a scheme to be a breach of their human rights?

 

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Schoolhouse presentation: Inverness NO2NP roadshow http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/schoolhouse-presentation-inverness-no2np-roadshow http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/schoolhouse-presentation-inverness-no2np-roadshow#comments Fri, 28 Nov 2014 21:23:48 +0000 alisonp http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/?p=5272 The NO2NP youtube channel has now uploaded Alison Preuss’s presentation on behalf of Schoolhouse to the Inverness roadshow which took place on 1st October 2014. The transcript is available here.

 

 


 

 

 

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Victims of GIRFEC data theft and SHANARRI tick box tyranny http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/victims-of-girfec-data-theft-and-shanarri-tick-box-tyranny http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/victims-of-girfec-data-theft-and-shanarri-tick-box-tyranny#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 16:11:22 +0000 alisonp http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/?p=5233 Schoolhouse remains deeply concerned by reports of harassment, bullying and ultra vires activities on the part of the new ‘SHANARRI Stasi’, which has been unleashed on the unsuspecting families of Scotland as a result of the Children and Young People Act.


As we await the outcome of the judicial review just heard at the Court of Session, in which Aidan O’Neill QC reminded the government that “There is a responsibility in legislating. You can’t just put out any old rubbish”, we thought we would post a few anonymised case studies to demonstrate how things go very wrong for families when they don’t  follow the parenting path that an unqualified, untrained, often prejudiced Named Person dictates to be “right” according to the state’s preferred tick box template for childhood.

 

We will continue to collect case studies and completely anonymise the data we receive from families (who trust us not to retain their personal information) so that we can show what is happening on the ground. It is telling that these same families no longer trust public and third sector ‘services’, especially health visitors, teachers and ‘support workers’.

 

As you peruse these horror stories, please remember that your family could be next because the tentacles of this sinister scheme extend to every child and associated adult in Scotland. Even if you are in another part of the UK, beware of the spread of this highly contagious and deadly disease.

 

Family A

A seven year old child was withdrawn from school last year due to bullying at a small remote rural school. After seeking information and support from Schoolhouse, the parent sent a letter of request with an outline of her proposed home education provision to the Local Authority, who immediately sent a social worker and doctor to the family home to “check us out”, despite there being no indication of any problem other than bullying at school. After some delay and a number of reminders, consent to withdraw the child was eventually granted and the child is now successfully home educated, happy and thriving. Recently, a health visitor made unsolicited contact to notify the parent that she will be calling at the family home and seeing the child as his Named Person, although the responsibility lies with the LA, not a health worker, to communicate with home educating families and make enquiries about their educational provision on an annual basis. The parent does not want to deal with a health visitor and is quite capable of consulting the family GP when necessary, but the health visitor remains adamant that she has the “right” to see the child and enter the family home. The parent is now submitting a subject access request to obtain her child’s records as she can see no reason for this unwanted intrusion into her private family life, especially after no action was taken to address the bullying suffered by the child when he was at school. She is concerned that there is no effective complaints procedure or redress mechanism for parents subjected to harassment and who have had their personal data shared without their consent or knowledge.

 

Family B

A 15 year old girl from north east Scotland had been suffering depression and extreme anxiety related to school attendance for the past two years. Despite valiant efforts by the school and a very supportive guidance teacher, the child’s attendance had broken down completely and the parent decided that it would be in her best interests to be home educated until she regained confidence and felt able to attend college after she becomes 16. The guidance teacher (who is presumably her Named Person) has been fully supportive of this decision, but on hearing of the parent’s intention to home educate, the educational psychologist declared her outright opposition. Rather than process the parent’s request for consent to formally withdraw the child from school, a multi-agency meeting was called to question the decision. The child meanwhile became even more anxious as a result of her parent and guidance teacher being overruled by a psychologist, and the parent felt undermined by a “gang of outside professionals” who have had little or no contact with the family, no understanding of the child’s needs and no knowledge of how home education can help children experiencing school related anxiety. Left in limbo, the parent is presently seeking an independent psychologist’s report and taking legal advice.

 

Family C

A four year old child on the autistic spectrum had been attending a special needs nursery in the west of Scotland but had not been not enrolled in a primary school  for August entry because his parents had decided to home educate him for at least the first year of his compulsory education. Without the parents’ knowledge or consent, the nursery forwarded all of his details to the LA, which proceeded to allocate him a place at a special needs school. When the parents formally declined the place, they were informed that they would require the council’s consent to home educate (although consent only applies to the withdrawal of a school-age child from a council school and no council consent is required to home educate per se). The council continued to mislead the family on the issue, which is clearly explained in the home education guidance, and their personal data were shared without their consent with myriad other ‘services’, resulting in bombardment with forced ‘support’ and misleading information, despite their having made suitable educational and social support arrangements for their son.

 

Family D

A parent seeking consent to withdraw her child from a school in the north of Scotland was concerned to be informed that the council would be undertaking “a police check, social work check, doctor’s check and psychological assessment of the child” as well as a “home inspection” before they could process her “application to home educate”. Alarmed to discover that this council had taken up to nine months to process other families’ consent applications and had placed myriad obstacles in the way of those opting to home educate, she contacted Schoolhouse to enquire as to the legality of such investigations. Given that there was no reason whatsoever to suspect that members of the family had criminal records, had been subject to social work intervention, or had  any concerns raised about them, she was extremely angry that their personal data were being shared without consent across agencies with which they had had no previous contact and that their private family life was being subject to unwanted interference, when the LA ‘s responsibility, as outlined in the home education statutory guidance, is restricted to satisfying itself as to the suitability of the education provision. The parent rightly questioned the ‘necessity’ of undertaking so many intrusive investigations without express consent when the child, who was still attending school, had never been deemed “at risk” in any way. Her view remains that the council is guilty of abusing its power by seeking to humiliate and undermine parents who are simply exercising a lawful educational choice. Schoolhouse has received several more complaints from parents who have experienced delays and deliberate obstruction on the part of this council, some of whom have had to enlist the support of MSPs as a result of consent being “unreasonably withheld”.

 

Family E (on behalf of local home education group)

Schoolhouse was contacted by a longstanding member and experienced home educator who had just provided his LA with an annual update relating to his children’s progress. He was deeply concerned to have been (mis)informed by the council official that home visits were to become mandatory for every home educating family so that children could be “checked”. The parent also reported increasing attempts by inexperienced officers to impose non statutory requirements on local home educators, which had now been dealt with but had caused families unnecessary stress and anxiety. Lack of training and knowledge of the law and statutory guidance on home education was considered by local home educating families to be likely to result in future problems.

 

Family F

A child who experienced a difficult transition from primary to a high school in the Lothian area developed depression and suffered a decline in her physical health due to stress. Support from the school was said to be poor and the guidance teacher largely unsympathetic, leading to severe anxiety, panic attacks and attendance problems. The parent contacted Schoolhouse in desperation after deciding that home education and local support networks would be in her daughter’s best interests and provide respite in the short to medium term. She proceeded to seek the council’s consent to withdraw the child from school, but was met with delays and had many obstacles placed in her way because the school did not agree with her decision, despite the child being miserable in school and attendance breaking down. The parent sought a medical certificate from her GP to cover absence until the consent application was processed, but it became an ongoing “battle” with the school using delaying tactics of endless meetings and assessments, as well as threats of referral to the children’s reporter if they did not agree to a “support” plan to keep her in school. Although it is the LA’s role, not the school’s, to grant or refuse consent to withdraw the child (which should be based on the proposed parental educational provision), it is currently being withheld unreasonably in the view of the parent, who feels that “nobody is on my side and I am fighting against a whole system for my daughter’s health and wellbeing.”  This parent has also felt it necessary to consult a solicitor and submit a subject access request to obtain her child’s records so that she is aware of what has been recorded and shared without her knowledge or consent.

 

Family G

A parent of a 9 year old attending a school in north east Scotland contacted Schoolhouse to express serious concerns about the implementation of GIRFEC by her child’s head teacher, who had assumed the role of her son’s Named Person (despite the legislation not yet being in force). He has a specific medical condition, the nature of which was shared in confidence with the head teacher, who subsequently disclosed details to others without consent. Owing to ongoing health issues, the child was educated at home by the LA (as opposed to electively home educated) for a time, remaining on the roll of the school but with the parent providing most of his education by agreement.  At a multi agency meeting from which the parent was excluded (and she was subsequently refused a copy of the minutes), the education at home arrangement was revoked and a package of “support” decided without consultation, leading to what the parent described as “an onslaught of people offering so called support, but in fact they only make things worse.” When the parent indicated that she was unhappy with the arrangements, a social worker visited to inform her that, although social work “support” was being offered on a voluntary basis, if it was refused, a referral would immediately be made to the children’s reporter. The parent has since submitted a subject access request to obtain her son’s records in order to find out what personal data have been recorded and shared without her knowledge or consent, since the minutes of the meeting from which she was excluded are being withheld by the ‘Named Person’. The parent has meanwhile formally withdrawn consent for personal data to be shared (citing the Minister’s assurances on the public record that there is no compulsion to consent), is taking legal advice and is obtaining an independent psychologist’s report so that she can make an informed decision on her child’s wellbeing needs. She also plans to make a formal complaint about the actions of the head teacher.

 

Family H

The parent of a P7 child from the west of Scotland contacted Schoolhouse in September 2013 while researching home education, which she planned to undertake after the end of her daughter’s primary schooling. She had also contacted the Scottish Government for clarification on consent and was reassured that this would not be necessary if she chose not to send her daughter to secondary school. The child has a number of health issues which require ongoing medication and treatment and has experienced panic attacks. She is under the competent care of relevant services, including an educational psychologist who negotiated part time attendance as part of an overall plan to support the child in school. The family GP further provided a letter supporting the appropriateness of these arrangements. Although the parent was under no obligation to notify the primary school of her decision to home educate rather than send her child to secondary school, she did so out of courtesy and was immediately subjected to what she described as “bullying and harassment” as a result. Despite part time attendance having been agreed as being in the child’s best interests and the educational psychologist supporting the parent’s future plans, the head teacher, having assumed the role of Named Person, proceeded (at the end of the school year) to refer the child to the children’s reporter for poor attendance and other nebulous “wellbeing” concerns, declaring the GP’s letter insufficient evidence of reasonable excuse for absence. The distressed parent told Schoolhouse: “I’m really quite scared. The school is making me feel like the worst person in the world.” She has now made a subject access request to obtain her child’s records and is taking legal advice, but the actions of this Named Person, who has stated that she is personally opposed to home education, have caused unnecessary distress to the parent, who need never have informed her of her intentions for her daughter’s post-primary education, and have also undoubtedly compromised the child’s wellbeing.

 

Families I, J and K

All have left Scotland for the Irish Republic as a result of unwanted interference in their lawful parenting choices and forced interventions initiated by Named Persons. One recently returned to the south of England.


Nursery school concerns

A private nursery contacted Schoolhouse to clarify aspects of the law on home education as they were so concerned by the advice given by the LA to a family who were planning to home educate their child rather than send him to primary school. The parents had been wrongly informed that they would need to “apply to home school through the council and the head teacher from the catchment school can reject the request.”  The family and the nursery, whose principal was aware of the home education statutory guidance, were naturally concerned by the level of misinformation emanating from the LA, and that other parents may also be routinely misled, deliberately or otherwise, by Named Persons within public services.

 

These are only the tip of a very large iceberg of professionally orchestrated abuses of children’s and families’ rights, with which the government and publicly funded children’s charities appear to be colluding without a hint of remorse.


 


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Beware of cuddly cuddies! Montrose NO2NP roadshow http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/montrose-no2np-roadshow http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/montrose-no2np-roadshow#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 10:58:04 +0000 alisonp http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/?p=5165 montrose no2np roadshow

 

Image credit: Montrose Review (related article here)


Schoolhouse co-ordinator Alison Preuss was one of the speakers at the latest NO2NP roadshow, which attracted a lively audience to the Park Hotel in Montrose. Chaired by Michael Veitch from the Christian Institute, the audience also heard from Lesley Scott of the Tymes Trust which represents families of young ME sufferers.

 

Concerned members of the public took the opportunity to raise questions and concerns about lack of training for teachers, named person allocation for home educated children, data sharing without consent, consequences of ‘non-engagement’, and the potentially damaging effects of ‘labelling’ children from an early age. A reporter / photographer from the Montrose Review was in attendance and the event should hopefully receive coverage in next week’s edition.

 

This was the last in a series of eight roadshows held across Scotland following the campaign launch in June and coincided with the end of the judicial review hearing at the Court of Session, the outcome of which is eagerly anticipated by us all.

 

Alison’s presentation on behalf of Schoolhouse is reproduced below at the request of those who were unable to attend the event. What Alison didn’t realise at the time was that a friend of her former Latin teacher was in the audience!

 

 

Schoolhouse presentation, Montrose NO2NP roadshow


It’s a real pleasure to be here tonight, back in my home town and just a few hundred yards from my old school, which I couldn’t wait to leave in 1974 but which I now look back on fondly for providing a proper education through sound academic teaching. All long since abandoned in favour of the ‘experiences and outcomes’ of the Curriculum for Excellence which is inextricably linked to the Named Person scheme and the bigger GIRFEC picture – Getting Information Recorded For Every Citizen.

 

Being a bit of a misunderstood minority, home educators have developed highly sensitive ‘early identification’ antennae to detect threats to our existence. We’ve been variously accused of subjecting our children to neglect or abusedomestic servitude, forced marriage and religious fundamentalism and have had quite a few Mel Gibson moments as the state has repeatedly tried to encroach on our freedom to educate our children ‘by other means’. From a purely self-preservation point of view, we have been actively opposing the universal data gathering behind what was to become the Named Person scheme for more than 12 years. We saw this one coming for everyone, not just us, and really wish we had been wrong.

 

Back in my Higher Latin class at the Academy, under the tutelage of George McLeod and Alistair Russell, we studied Virgil’s Aeneid, where some sneaky Greeks used the gift of a wooden horse to fool the Trojans into letting their guard down. Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes was forever seared into my memory, along with ardentes lapides caelo ceciderunt (but that’s another story!) Well, what we have with Part 4 of the Children and Young People Act is effectively a Tartan Trojan horse that may at first sight seem to be a cuddly sort of cuddy, but before you know it, will be taking you for a ride in a direction you may not want to go in, to a destination you may not want to reach.

 

trojan horse

 

For the record, we are the lab rats for Tony Blair’s New Labour social engineering  project known as ‘early intervention’, which was allegedly designed to identify the delinquents of tomorrow and ‘remediate’ them, but effectively consigns most of us to the ‘criminals in waiting’ class for ease of ‘management’.

 

The first sneaky move by the government was to lower the established child protection threshold from “at risk of significant harm” to “at risk of not meeting the state’s dictated wellbeing outcomes”, based on an all encompassing risk assessment framework that includes being under 5, an only child, having a disabled parent or one who is ‘non engaging’.The next step was to persuade the public, by embarking on an emotive PR campaign , that this new scheme was being introduced to help save the most vulnerable children and prevent future tragedies.

 

You’d think it would be difficult to get sensible people to believe that building bigger haystacks would make it easier to find smaller needles . You’d also think that lessons might have been learned from the Isle of Man which abandoned a similar scheme after children’s services melted down due to over-referral, but apparently every single MSP was fooled (or more likely told how to vote), despite a significant number of clued up parents alerting them to the implications for every single family in the land.

 

Tony Benn famously described the policy as “eugenics, the sort of thing Hitler talked about”, and as a former student of Mrs Morrison and Mr Pullar at the Academy, where the Higher History syllabus covered both world wars, it’s hard to disagree.  Having also lived in Germany (with a decent grasp of the language thanks to Mr George the German teacher), I heard straight from the horse’s mouth about the experiences of some who lived through the Nazification process of the 1930s. What they all related was that : “there’s no deadline for when a free nation becomes a police state, the bar just gets gradually lower and lower until one day you can’t squeeze under it, and you’re trapped.”  We’ve all seen the Sound of Music. You should all look at the risk assessment framework and see how many boxes you tick.

 

Of course the government and its highly paid charity cheerleaders boldly claim early intervention to be the final solution for every social ill afflicting Scotland, but it’s a bit of a stretch to imagine how an army of state snoopers covertly recording every child’s pet bereavements (I kid you not!), lunch box contents, pocket money rates and mummy and daddy’s failure to buy the latest trainers is going to help the few children who are already known to be at risk of something far worse than missing out on their five a day.

 

Indeed as we have heard on earlier roadshows from paediatrician Dr Jenny Cunningham, there is no evidence to support the premise that early intervention makes an iota of difference and can in fact damage children and families. It does, however, allow service providers new and exciting publicly funded opportunities to perform subjective ‘parental capacity to provide wellbeing’ assessments at every stage of every child’s life from the womb onwards. It’s also an open invitation for IT companies to flog ever more sophisticated surveillance software to database and ‘profile’ the population. Big data is worth big bucks to the economy.

 

Which brings me to the Evidence2Success school survey that caused such a stooshie in Perth and Kinross due to its notorious questioning of pupils about their sexual and drug taking habits and ‘feelings of worthlessness’.  It  had to be hastily rebranded as ChildrenCount so that it could be rolled out in new Trojan Horse wellbeing livery to the school children of Angus, Dundee and North Ayrshire where parental consent was deemed unnecessary as some folk might make a fuss. Unfortunately for those conducting the North Ayrshire supplementary household survey, the ‘Saltcoats Solution’ was deployed by parents who robustly rebuffed the advances of strange blokes from Birmingham asking dodgy questions about young children!

 

GIRFEC may have been ‘piloted’ in Highland, but it’s not a Scottish idea. It’s part of the same outcomes based policy that is being pursued relentlessly across the EU and relies on accumulating every bit of data about every one of us to allow the government to cross-reference information and control citizens’ behaviour through proactive ‘nudging’ and/or forced intervention. E-profiling is now a reality and pity help you if you don’t build your four capacities according to the state’s good citizen template, for which you need to show you are a successful learner, confident individual, responsible citizen and effective contributor.  There are of course set marking  guidelines in the form of tick box assessments  to measure your performance in each. As the proverbial square peg, I don’t score very highly according to their round hole criteria. The Academy clearly served me well!

 

Since the Children and Young People Act was passed in February, more and more families are experiencing unwanted interference by Named Persons up to and including referrals to the children’s reporter on spurious grounds. This is happening two years before the provision is scheduled to come into force, but families are already having their personal data stolen and assessed by multi-agency box tickers who may not personally approve of particular parenting choices and have had a couple of hours’ training  on how to circumvent the law. Think chronic illness and disability, vaccination, travelling lifestyles, home birthing, attachment parenting, and remember the Ashya King case which resulted in a European Arrest Warrant being issued for ‘irresponsible’ parents seeking a second opinion and private medical treatment for their sick child.

 

So what about the Highland pilot that has been used to justify imposing a data collector on every child in Scotland?

 

 

  • Secondly, it was selective – the pilot was not a universal ‘service’ across Highland, but one in which parents whose children had additional needs were over-represented and understandably crying out for single point of contact, having been serially fobbed off in the past.

 

The social engineers have of course been busy defending the indefensible with large helpings of spin.

 

 

  • It was publicly claimed there were no complaints, but the press has carried stories of parents who did complain and were ignored. Schoolhouse has also been hearing from them on a regular basis.

 

  • The ‘evidence’ was purely policy based, having been commissioned from vested interests who need to justify their own highly paid existence for the next funding round. The so called ‘children’s workforce’ is big business and the public sector and big state funded charities have all fallen into line, drowning out smaller grass roots groups who have witnessed the pitfalls at first hand.

 

  • Named Person apologists like to shout about children’s rights, but by citing Convention rights on a selective basis as an excuse to intrude into young lives, database entire families’ sensitive personal information and force them into doing  something against their will, where they are not ‘at risk of significant harm’, they are perverting the whole purpose of the UNCRC which is supposed to prevent the abuse of minors. A right is not a right if you don’t have the right to refuse, like forcing a Named Person on every child without opt out and stealing data without consent.

 

  • Finally, our favourite claim is that the opponents of GIRFEC (that’s us!) are all misguided scaremongers who don’t understand that  it’s only a signposting service for parents who want it, there’s no obligation to use it, and they’re only here to help (where have we heard that one before?If it’s really so great and we are all asking for it, it surely begs the question, why make it compulsory?

 

There are also some familiar old chestnuts that are repeatedly trotted out by those who haven’t bothered to think through the implications, so let’s just take a minute to dispose of them:

 

  • “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear”, but how many people would willingly hand over their online banking passwords and why on earth would they bother with privacy settings on social media accounts if they have nothing to hide? Ashya King’s parents had nothing to hide and look where it got them! Personally, I am happier hiding my wobbly bits from public view, although it isn’t a crime to eat too many cakes (yet!)  Also remember that “privacy is a necessary condition of mental health and wellbeing”, which is one of the reasons it is specifically protected in human rights legislation.

 

  • “If it saves just one child…” is another cliché used by people who have no understanding of the realities of child protection, which is deadly serious business, and confuse it with the state’s woolly “wellbeing” indicators. GIRFEC didn’t save Mikaeel Kular who was killed by his mother, despite being known to be vulnerable by children’s services in Edinburgh and Fife where the Named Person is already operational and already causing problems for families who have been the subjects of malicious referrals. When implemented universally, GIRFEC puts the most vulnerable children at greater risk by diverting resources from already overstretched child protection social work services.

 

  • “We need to know everything about your family so we can plan the services you’ll need.” For that read “the services we decide you’ll need” as the enabling state is primed to disable dissenters who may stray from the “right” set of outcomes as determined by the government. Why not actually address the needs of parents and children who are already queuing up to ask for support they have identified as necessary but are being turned away through lack of resources or disagreement on the part of professionals?

 

The future isn’t bright if we do nothing, so we need to keep reminding parents that no family is now safe from routine state intervention. The bar has been set so low that we’re all deemed a risk to our children’s wellbeing.


Fortunately the judicial review is in progress, but who would have thought that law abiding citizens would need to go to court to protect their children from the government’s assault on their human rights?  For the sake of every child, we can’t afford for the legal challenge to fail.

 

In the meantime we are relying on our overarching rights under Article 8 of the ECHR, the EU Data Protection Directives and the UK wide Data Protection Act, none of which the Scottish Parliament has the legislative competence to override.

 

Here are some of our tried and tested  tactics to keep the snoopers at bay:

 

  • Opt out of any school surveys and don’t allow your child to be coerced into taking part. Have an opt-out note attached to your child’s records and remind teachers that there is a law against grooming children to disclose personal sensitive data.

 

  • Formally withhold or withdraw consent from every ‘service provider’ for any data processing without your written authority and obtain confirmation that they have complied with your instructions. This might make you a non engaging parent in the risk assessment stakes, but Aileen Campbell has stated on public record that there is no requirement to engage with a Named Person. They really need to make up their minds!

 

  • Avoid providing personal information to service providers wherever possible, including third sector organisations whose remit is now to mine data from you and your children. Try not to get guilt tripped into providing ‘feedback’ which they claim they need to prove they have met their outcomes, to get their next grant and provide future services (you get the drift).

 

  • Submit subject access requests under the Data Protection Act to obtain your own and your children’s records and do so on a regular basis. They must produce them within 40 days and you may be surprised at what has been recorded and shared about you with every Tom, Dick and Harry, playground tittle-tattle included. (One parent was surprised to learn she was emigrating, not just moving two streets away!) Do you really want your child’s teachers to have access to your entire family’s medical and social work records at the click of a mouse so that they can go on fishing expeditions (something that is specifically prohibited under EU Data Protection Directives)?  The Assistant Information Commissioner seems remarkably complacent and is even quoted in Perth and Kinross Council’s  training manual that encourages staff to break the law, but his lay ‘opinion’ looks very shoogly when compared to the opinion of leading counsel, especially in the context of the Haringey judgement and a growing number of European cases.

 

  • Make formal complaints about every concern you have as a parent about the actions of your child’s NP – whether a health visitor, nursery worker, teacher or ‘other’. Consider asking for access to their police, health and social work records so that you can satisfy yourself as to their suitability to work with your child. On the Home Ed Forums website you’ll find a 50 page thread listing professionals convicted of abusing children as disclosure checks obviously only find those who have been caught. The ‘care’ system routinely fails the most vulnerable children, the Rotherham sexual abuse scandal is said to be the tip of an iceberg of organised exploitation and Scotland has plenty of its own embarrassing skeletons rattling their way out of the closet. It’s surely telling that children’s databases are commonly referred to in IT circles as ‘paedophiles’ address books’.

 

  • Finally, when you find government agents at your door announcing they’re there to help you, whether you like it or not, employ the Saltcoats Solution and send them packing with directions to the NO2NP website!

 

 

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NO2NP November Roadshows: Perth & Montrose http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/no2np-november-roadshows-perth-montrose http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/no2np-november-roadshows-perth-montrose#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 15:14:19 +0000 alisonp http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/?p=5150 No2np roadshowsDon’t miss these upcoming NO2NP roadshows in Perth and Montrose!

 

no2np roadshows

 

 

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Judicial Review: Named Person scheme and associated data theft http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/judicial-review-named-person-scheme-and-associated-data-theft http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/judicial-review-named-person-scheme-and-associated-data-theft#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 14:34:44 +0000 alisonp http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/?p=5121 In advance of the Judicial Review which is to commence later this month, we are grateful to our colleague Tristram Llewellyn-Jones from the Isle of Man for circulating this excellent position paper focusing on the non-consensual universal data gathering and sharing on which GIRFEC and the compulsory Named Person scheme rely.

 

Named Person Judicial Review – T C Llewellyn Jones [pdf]

 

One commenter has described the paper as “a very clear explanation of the motivations behind introducing the Named Person into Scotland and the inevitable inequitable, prejudiced and targeted use of the powers over individual families and children.”


Let’s hope the Court of Session upholds families’ rights to privacy and freedom from unwanted and unwarranted interference by state appointed tyrants wielding tick boxes and SHANARRI wheels of misfortune.

 

Until then, we would recommend employing some or all  the tactics outlined in Schoolhouse’s presentation at the NO2NP roadshow in Inverness:

 

  • Opt out of any school surveys and don’t allow your child to be coerced into taking part. Have an opt-out note attached to your child’s records and remind teachers that there is a law against grooming childrento disclose personal sensitive data.
  • Formally withhold or withdraw consent from every ‘service provider’ for any data processing without your written authority and obtain confirmation that they have complied with your instructions. This might make you a non engaging parent in the risk assessment stakes, but Aileen Campbell has stated on public record that there is no requirement to engage with a Named Person. Go figure!
  • Avoid providing personal information to service providers wherever possible, including third sector organisations whose remit is now to mine data from you and your children. Try not to get guilt tripped into providing ‘feedback’ which they claim they need to prove they have met their outcomes, to get their next grant and provide future services (you get the drift).
  • Submit subject access requests under the Data Protection Act to obtain your own and your children’s records. They must produce them within 40 days and you may be surprised at what has been recorded and shared about you with every Tom, Dick and Harry, playground tittle-tattle included. (One parent was surprised to learn she was emigrating to Egypt, not just moving two streets away!) Do you really want your child’s teacher to have access to your entire family’s medical and social work records at the click of a mouse? The Assistant Info Commissioner seems remarkably complacent and is even quoted in Perth and Kinross Council’s training manual that encourages staff to break the law, but his lay ‘opinion’ looks very shoogly in the context of the Haringey judgement and when compared to the opinion of leading counsel.
  • Make formal complaints about every concern you have as a parent about the actions of your child’s NP – whether a health visitor, nursery worker, teacher or ‘other’. Consider asking for access to their police, health and social work records so that you can satisfy yourself as to their suitability to work with your child. On the Home Ed Forums website you’ll find a 50 page thread listing professionals convicted of abusing childrenRotherham hasn’t inspired confidence and Scotland has plenty of its own embarrassing skeletons rattling their way out of the closet. The ‘paedophiles’ address book’ label still applies.
  • Finally, when you find government agents at your door announcing they’re there to help you, employ the ‘Saltcoats Solution’ and send them away to think again.

 

 

 

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Notice of Schoolhouse AGM 2014 http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/notice-of-schoolhouse-agm-2014 http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/notice-of-schoolhouse-agm-2014#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 12:11:33 +0000 alisonp http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/?p=5114 This year’s Schoolhouse Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday 29th November 2014 at Eighteen & Under, 1 Victoria Road, Dundee DD1 1EL, at 11.30am.


The venue is in central Dundee  within easy walking distance of both the railway and bus stations. The Wellgate shopping centre car park is nearby and there is on street metered parking. [Get directions]  Please note that the venue is on the second floor and there is no lift, but we will do our best to facilitate access for anyone with prams, buggies or mobility issues.

 

Please let us know if you are coming so that we can arrange teas and coffees for attendees.

 

It is anticipated that the AGM itself will be a brief business meeting where the annual report and accounts for 2013-2014 will be presented to members. Afterwards, there will be an opportunity to discuss some of the important issues that have arisen over the past year.

 

Please note that no additional activities have been planned for this year’s AGM , but there are many things to do and see in the City of Discovery for those who want to make a day of it.

 

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NO2NP roadshow visits Inverness http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/no2np-roadshow-visits-inverness http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/no2np-roadshow-visits-inverness#comments Sat, 04 Oct 2014 00:17:46 +0000 alisonp http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/?p=5050 Schoolhouse was pleased to take part in the NO2NP Inverness roadshow on 1st October, which attracted a lively audience concerned about the implications of the Children and Young People Act for every family in Scotland.

 

The event was filmed and we will add a link as soon as the video is available [now available here]. Meanwhile, here is a transcript of the Schoolhouse co-ordinator’s presentation with links for reference.

 

 

Schoolhouse presentation, Inverness NO2NP roadshow

 

Home educators tend to have highly sensitive ‘early identification’ antennae to detect threats to our existence because we are a bit of a misunderstood and misrepresented minority. We’ve been variously accused of subjecting our children to neglect or abuse, domestic servitude, forced marriage and religious fundamentalism and have had quite a few Mel Gibson moments as the state has repeatedly tried to encroach on our freedom to educate our children ‘by other means’. From a purely self-preservation point of view, we have been actively opposing the universal data gathering behind what was to become the Named Person scheme since the CHYP Bill was still just a twinkle in the present government’s eye.

 

But we are just one among many square peg minorities who don’t fit the round holes prepared for us by the state for dispensing its ‘wellbeing’ prescriptions.  I expect several here tonight are also ‘square pegs’ who are being regularly hammered into unnatural shapes by ‘services’ for reasons of disability, chronic illness, cultural difference, or even just for making independent parenting choices.

 

Having said that, I am probably the saddest square peg here tonight (perhaps with the exception of my colleague Sheila) on two counts:

 

  • Firstly, we have been at this for such a long time, since about 2001 when home educators were tipped off (by a teacher, ironically) to the systematic data collection that was going on. Once we started digging, we just couldn’t stop, realising that children’s rights to privacy were being routinely breached and information was also being gathered about every associated adult without their knowledge (all in the run up to the planned introduction of ID cards). Action on Rights for Children (ARCH) was founded by a small group of us to focus on children’s rights in education as nobody else was bothering to uphold the UNCRC as a whole, just picking and mixing the Articles to suit an adult orchestrated agenda. We quickly became a thorn in the government’s side, producing well researched evidence of the illegal databasing of children across the UK and delivering a Big Brother Award on behalf of Privacy International to Margaret Hodge, the then UK children’s minister. It is still the case that children’s rights are being selectively applied and ‘children’s rights champions’ are doing pretty good impressions of chocolate fireguards. Playing the ‘children’s rights’ card as an excuse to intrude into their lives, database their families’ sensitive personal information and force them into doing  something against their will, where they are not ‘at risk of significant harm’, perverts the whole purpose of the UNCRC which is supposed to prevent such abuse of minors. A right is not a right if you don’t have the right to refuse, like forcing a Named Person on every child without opt out.

 

  • Secondly in the sadness stakes, we failed to wake up the population in time (or even the  politicians who screamed blue murder about ID cards) to the creeping surveillance  agenda, but it’s not for the want of trying.  Politicians have no excuse, but people just didn’t believe it was happening, or could happen, or even that it had already happened in Scotland, with only a judicial review between us and the loss of family autonomy.

 

For the record, we are the lab rats for Tony Blair’s New Labour social engineering  project known as ‘early intervention’, which was allegedly designed to identify the delinquents of tomorrow and ‘remediate’ them, but has effectively consigned most parents and children to the ‘criminals in waiting’ class. Tony Benn famously described it as “the sort of thing Hitler talked about”, and as we have heard on earlier roadshows from Dr Jenny Cunningham, there is no evidence to support the premise that early intervention makes an iota of difference and can in fact damage children and families.  It does, however, allow service providers new and exciting publicly funded opportunities to perform subjective ‘parental capacity to provide wellbeing’ assessments at every stage of every child’s life from the womb onwards. It’s also an open invitation for IT companies to flog ever more sophisticated surveillance software to database and ‘profile’ the population. Big data is worth big bucks to the economy.


GIRFEC (Getting Information Recorded For Every Citizen) is actually the evil Scottish twin of England’s ECM (Every Citizen Monitored), and the Named Person scheme is the equivalent of England’s Contact Point which had become known as ‘the paedophiles’ address book’ before it was scrapped. Both schemes involve the routine gathering and sharing of children and associated adults’ personal data on a universal basis without consent, i.e. data rape (a term cited in a Westminster parliamentary motion condemning  the database state). Both schemes use illegally obtained data to profile citizens and force interventions based on a bunch of so-called risk indicators. In Scotland these are known by the acronym SHANARRI and have gained cult status among professionals who have been missold GIRFEC as a child protection scheme. Their heads must all button up the back.

 

As a real child protection expert, Eileen Munro, famously asked “How does making the haystack bigger help identify the most vulnerable children?” State snoopers covertly recording every child’s pet bereavements, lunch box contents, pocket money rates and mummy and daddy’s failure to buy the latest trainers isn’t exactly going to help the children who are already known to be at risk of something far worse than missing out on their five a day. Professional social workers (like Maggie Mellon and Hilary Searing) agree, and it’s social workers who could improve outcomes for children at serious risk if there were more of them on the ground with adequate support and resources. Lowering the child protection threshold from ‘at risk of significant harm’ to ‘at risk of not meeting state dictated wellbeing outcomes’ based on a risk assessment framework that includes being under 5, an only child, having a disabled parent or one who is ‘non engaging’ is a recipe for disaster. In fact it was a complete disaster in the Isle of Man which had to scrap a similar scheme when children’s services melted down due to over-referral.


GIRFEC may have been ‘piloted’ here in Highland, but it’s not a Scottish idea. It’s part of the same outcomes based policy that is being pursued relentlessly throughout the EU and relies heavily on accumulating every bit of data about every one of us to allow the government to cross reference information and control the citizenry through proactive ‘nudging’ and intervention. E-profiling is now a reality and pity help you if you don’t  build your four capacities according to the state’s good citizen template, for which you need to show you are a successful learner, confident individual, responsible citizen and effective contributor.  There are of course set marking  guidelines in the form of tick box assessments  to measure your performance in each. As the proverbial square peg, I know I don’t  score highly according to their round hole criteria, but by my own lights I reckon I’m doing just fine without interference!

 

To put the dangers of e-profiling into context, let me quote from a 2010 research paper by Ian Dent of the University of Cambridge entitled ‘Beyond Broadband: the true cost of digital Britain’. This might sound familiar to those who have listened to Scottish Ministers justifying their ‘need’ to know everything about us to provide the ‘services’ they decide we need for our wellbeing.

 

“The EU has spent almost £470bn creating a system that enables it to monitor the impact of citizens within the economy, and allocate public spending budgets according to the credit score a citizen receives in this e-system.”

 

“The EU believes that technology can create a utopia whereby all the information they have on the population can be cross-referenced to provide in-depth data that helps them make financial decisions in the most logical way.”

 

(That’s GIRFEC for you)

 

The author gave this example to show how data can be used to ‘credit score’ a human being’s ‘worth’:

 

“ In a world of e-profiling, a woman whose mother had died of breast cancer and was unemployed for 10 years would have difficulty gaining access to expensive drugs or treatments on the future e-controlled NHS because her “worth-to-the-economy profile” would be low.”

 

(‘Getting It Right For Every Child Citizen & Community’, which is already well under way in Inverclyde, starts to look a bit sinister in that context)

 

So it’s all about the data – your children’s data and your own – and they are closing in. We keep having to catch up with hasty rebranding exercises (which we feel we may be partly responsible for, along with Kenneth Roy at the Scottish Review and bloggers who have been banging the same drum). Take the Evidence2Success school survey which caused a stooshie in Perth and Kinross due to its notorious questioning of pupils on their sexual and drug taking habits. It has just been quietly rebranded as ChildrenCount so that it could be rolled out in fluffy new sheep’s wellbeing clothing to the school children of Dundee, Angus and North Ayrshire where parental consent has been deemed unnecessary as some of them might make a fuss. Unfortunately for those conducting the N Ayrshire supplementary household survey, the ‘Saltcoats Solution’ was deployed by parents who collectively rebuffed the advances of strange blokes asking dodgy questions about young children. They’ll be back, of course.

 

What  is currently happening on the ground isn’t pretty. As a national charity Schoolhouse takes a large number of enquiries from families looking into home education. Traditionally it has been a 50/50 split between parents making a positive choice and those who have reached the end of the school road (often due to special needs or bullying). Since we set up our online petition to raise awareness of the agenda behind GIRFEC, we have been fielding significantly more enquiries from families who have no interest in home ed per se but who report they are being bullied, threatened and victimised by Named Persons assuming  the role of state sponsored dictators.

 

Since Holyrood passed the legislation in February, we have been inundated as more families are experiencing unwanted interference by Named Persons up to and including referrals to the children’s reporter on spurious grounds. This is happening a full two years before the Named Person provision is scheduled to come into force, but families are already having their personal data stolen and assessed by multi-agency box tickers who may not personally approve of particular parenting choices and have had a couple of hours’ training  on how to circumvent the law. Think chronic illness and disability, vaccination, travelling lifestyles, home birthing, attachment parenting, home education and remember the Ashya King case which resulted in a European Arrest Warrant being issued for ‘irresponsible’ parents seeking a second opinion and private medical treatment for their sick child.

 

So what about the evidence, supposedly gleaned from the Highland pilot, for imposing a data collector on every child in Scotland?

 

 

  • Secondly it was selective – GIRFEC was not a universally imposed ‘service’, but one in which parents whose children had additional needs were over-represented and likely to welcome a single point of contact, having been serially fobbed off in the past.

 

The social engineers have of course been busy defending the indefensible.

 

 

  • It was publicly claimed there were no complaints from parents, but the press has carried stories of parents who did complain and were ignored. Some of them are here tonight and others are still complaining. We know because we have been hearing from them on a regular basis.

 

  • The ‘evidence’ is purely policy based, having been commissioned from vested interests who need to justify their own existence for the next funding round. The so called ‘children’s workforce’ is big business and the public sector and big state funded charities have all fallen into line, drowning out smaller grass roots groups who have witnessed the pitfalls at first hand. All attempts to obtain raw data have so far failed.

 

 

These cheerleaders’ arguments are well rehearsed and often repeated by those who haven’t bothered to think for themselves, so here are some ripostes we prepared earlier.

 

  • “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear.” Tell that to Ashya King’s parents.  Personally, I am happier hiding my cellulite from public view, thank you very much, although it isn’t a crime to eat too many cakes (yet!). Also remember that “privacy is a necessary condition of mental health”, which is why it is specifically protected in human rights legislation.

 

  • “If it saves just one child…” Well it didn’t save Mikaeel Kular, who was known to children’s services in Fife where the GIRFEC Named Person is already operational and already causing problems for home educating families who have been subject to malicious referrals. When implemented universally, GIRFEC puts the most vulnerable children at greater risk by diverting resources.

 

  • “We need to know everything about your family so we can plan the services you’ll need.” For that read “the services we decide you’ll need” as the Enabling State is primed to disable dissenters who may stray from their predetermined wellbeing outcomes. Why not actually address the needs of parents and children who are already queuing up to ask for support they have identified as necessary but are being turned away through lack of resources or disagreement on the part of professionals?

 

The future isn’t bright if we do nothing, so we need to keep reminding parents that no family is safe from state intervention. The bar has now been set so low that we’re all deemed a risk to our children’s ‘wellbeing’.

 

Fortunately the judicial review is in progress, but who would have thought that ordinary parents would need to go to court to protect their children from the government’s assault on their human rights?  Given the Haringey case precedent, where Article 8 was upheld and data processing without consent deemed unlawful below the established ‘at risk’ threshold, and given that the entire legal establishment in Scotland has come out against the anti-family provisions in the CHYP Act, they are digging themselves an enormous hole and won’t even share their legal advice (no doubt still on the back of Kenny MacAskill’s fag packet and carrying a health warning). For the sake of every child, we can’t afford for the legal challenge to fail.

 

In the meantime we have a few tactics to keep the wolves from the door.

 

  • Opt out of any school surveys and don’t allow your child to be coerced into taking part. Have an opt-out note attached to your child’s records and remind teachers that there is a law against grooming children to disclose personal sensitive data.

 

  • Formally withhold or withdraw consent from every ‘service provider’ for any data processing without your written authority and obtain confirmation that they have complied with your instructions. This might make you a non engaging parent in the risk assessment stakes, but Aileen Campbell has stated on public record that there is no requirement to engage with a Named Person. Go figure!

 

  • Avoid providing personal information to service providers wherever possible, including third sector organisations whose remit is now to mine data from you and your children. Try not to get guilt tripped into providing ‘feedback’ which they claim they need to prove they have met their outcomes, to get their next grant and provide future services (you get the drift).

 

  • Submit subject access requests under the Data Protection Act to obtain your own and your children’s records. They must produce them within 40 days and you may be surprised at what has been recorded and shared about you with every Tom, Dick and Harry, playground tittle-tattle included. (One parent was surprised to learn she was emigrating to Egypt, not just moving two streets away!) Do you really want your child’s teacher to have access to your entire family’s medical and social work records at the click of a mouse? The Assistant Info Commissioner seems remarkably complacent and is even quoted in Perth and Kinross Council’s training manual that encourages staff to break the law, but his lay ‘opinion’ looks very shoogly in the context of the Haringey judgement and when compared to the opinion of leading counsel.

 

  • Make formal complaints about every concern you have as a parent about the actions of your child’s NP – whether a health visitor, nursery worker, teacher or ‘other’. Consider asking for access to their police, health and social work records so that you can satisfy yourself as to their suitability to work with your child. On the Home Ed Forums website you’ll find a 50 page thread listing professionals convicted of abusing children. Rotherham hasn’t inspired confidence and Scotland has plenty of its own embarrassing skeletons rattling their way out of the closet. The ‘paedophiles’ address book’ label still applies.

 

  • Finally, when you find government agents at your door announcing they’re there to help you, employ the Saltcoats Solution and send them away with a NO2NP leaflet!

 

 

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