Sunday, 31 August 2014

Parents dispute NHS decision

Posted on August 31, 2014 by suesspiciousminds

"The parents of Ayesha King have been in the news this weekend ) and the parents removed their child from hospital against medical advice and took their child out of the country. The Kings were wanting a form of therapy for their son’s cancer that is not available on the NHS, and found themselves in a quarrel with the medical professionals in England, leading them to take their son out of the country. That led to a European arrest warrant being issued and the King’s being found and arrested."

"I don’t want to write too much about the individual case, because it is all very real and raw and painful for this family, and we don’t have the facts that would allow us to make a proper decision about what they were doing was right or wrong."

"This piece is more about the general principle of whether a parent has the right to decide what is best for their child, or whether the doctors have the final say?"

See also  

Whistleblower admits omitting data

"(NaturalNews) BREAKING: CDC whistleblower William Thompson has now gone public with a statement posted on the website of the law firm representing him, Morgan Verkamp LLC. (See the full statement reprinted below.)"

"The statement opens with a blatant admission of scientific fraud at the CDC:"

"My name is William Thompson. I am a Senior Scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where I have worked since 1998. I regret that my coauthors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics."

Learn more:

See also:

Friday, 29 August 2014

Risk and Resilience

"There is a strong evidence base, built over many years, to indicate the risk factors that can make children, families and whole communities vulnerable to poor mental health." 

So says YoungMinds one of the flourishing charities built up around children`s wellbeing with its emphasis on risk and resilience. They point to risk factors such as family breakdown, bereavement and parental mental illness. (Well, mental illness would indicate poor mental health, would it not?)  Apart from stating the obvious, the charity`s emphasis tends to encourage a `blame the victims` approach.

There are other ways of looking at things. Instead we could point out that there is strong experiential evidence built over many years that having a job protects against poor mental health. 

Here is an article which exposes what the push for wellbeing and resilience in schools is really about.
Students must become resilient to cope with `abysmal` prospects.
Teachers, schools and colleges will need to be at the forefront of dealing with the lasting psychological impact of unemployment and recession on Scotland`s young people, experts have warned. Andy Furlong, a professor of social inclusion and education at the University of Glasgow, said that "abysmal" job prospects for young people were the new reality, and that there would be no return to pre-recession opportunities. Educators needed to help young people to develop the skills to manage complex situations and adapt to ongoing change, he said, but warned that forcing reluctant conscripts on to sometimes second-rate programmes could be counterproductive.

So, no jobs,  just `expert` guidance about resilience. Let`s hope our young people don`t fall for any of it.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Integrated Services and community education

Community Education has a long history and it requires the integration of different services based on the school.

The Educational Program for Montgomery County Schools in Maryland was proposed by Dr Nicholaus L. Englehardt and Associates and written by Dr Walter D Cocking, New York City (April 1, 1946). It has been called the `Blueprint` of Community Education.`

"The task of the teacher of the future is a greatly different task than that which teachers usually performed in the past. The fundamental equipment expected of the teacher of yesterday was knowledge of the subject he taught. Modern education demands teachers who are acquainted by experience as well as by study with our democratic society and who participate actively in the life of the community... ."

The plan would involve introducing the following services into schools for the benefit of the entire community.

Health and medical services
Feeding services
Recreational services
Library services
Guidance and counselling services
Child care services
Demonstration and  experimental services.
Planning and research services
Employment services.
Audio-visual services.
Social welfare services
Group meeting place services.
Civic services
Consultative services

Having begun to explore the possibilities in 1998, Scotland is now well ahead with providing integrated services in its schools. Curriculum for Excellence is blurring the boundaries between education and health by making health and wellbeing part of the curriculum and at the same time giving teachers the responsibility for the development and wellbeing of each pupil. Individual learning plans blur the distinction further between education and guidance; and named persons work collaboratively with social services ready to intervene at the mere hint that a child`s wellbeing is at risk.

In fact, the Scottish Government sees its responsibility as taking care of the whole child: physical, social, educational, emotional, spiritual and psychological. (Scottish Executive 2005) In other words, there is a direct relationship between the State and each individual child which is being acted out in the school.
Is this relationship likely to be a healthy one? Indications are that this grandiose vision is already causing alarm to some communities; for the problem is that `without the capacity to collect, monitor and analyse data from different sources` we are informed that the concept of Integrated Community Services  `is not imaginable,` - and neither is the policy to take care of the whole child.
The Scottish Review reports on another survey being conducted on school children in Dundee, very similar to the discredited Perth and Kinross Evidence2Success, which failed to inform parents of the very sensitive questions until after the surveys were completed. So desperate is the Scottish Government for data, that it will breach Data Protection law to obtain it. The article sums it up nicely.
In this intriguing new Scotland, where European directives are lightly ignored in the interests of contentment, the only people who will be explicitly forbidden from being named persons are the child's own parents.

Of course, the integration of Children`s Services is only the beginning of the knowledge driven society.
This paper argues that the "analysis of knowledge policy is crucial in order to explain changes in education governance in the knowledge society. The integrated services initiative is one aspect of this emerging reality. Above all, it signals a re-invention of public education as having a much broader, and therefore more vague and malleable role in creating a new society of known and governable individuals."

(Note: For knowledge driven society, read data driven society.)

Child sexual exploitation in Rotherham: 1,400 victims

At least 1,400 children were subjected to appalling sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013, a report has found.

Children as young as 11 were raped by multiple perpetrators, abducted, trafficked to other cities in England, beaten and intimidated, it said.

The report, commissioned by Rotherham Borough Council, revealed that there had been three previous inquiries.
Council leader Roger Stone said he would step down with immediate effect.
Professor Alexis Jay, who wrote the latest report, said that there had been "blatant" collective failures by the council's leadership, senior managers had "underplayed" the scale of the problem and South Yorkshire Police had failed to prioritise the issue.

The Star reports that Child protection staff will not be disciplined. HERE

It seems that Rotherham Local Safeguarding Children`s Board was being less than frank when it made the claim "We will work with partners to eradicate Child Sexual Exploitation and Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is and will continue to be a priority..."
Their response to criticism was very defensive and there was little recognition of the scale of the problem as can be noted here:

"Due to the very nature of CSE, and its emotive nature, there has been national media attention. Rotherham has featured in this from both positive and negative perspectives. In 2010, the media praised Rotherham agencies for the way that five men were prosecuted following Operation Central, with reports that "this case shows how seriously South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Council treat the issue of child sexual exploitation". HERE 

It is also worrying that Ofsted conducted an inspection of Rotherham`s arrangements for the protection of children in July 2012 and the findings of the inspection  proved to be woefully inadequate. Their comments were all positive.  

"Information about missing children who were at risk of sexual exploitation was being shared at an early stage and was well coordinated.
There was good collaborative work between the local authority and the Police resulting in a targeted approach to tackling sexual exploitation"
How did Ofsted miss so much? See the report HERE

See also

THE role of a senior East Riding Council officer who was in charge of safeguarding at Rotherham at the height of unchecked child abuse could be examined in a new police investigation into the scandal.
Pam Allen worked for Rotherham Council in childcare services for 13 years before joining East Riding Council in 2009.
She was Rotherham's director of safeguarding between 2004 and 2009, the period under intense scrutiny following the publication of a damning report into failings by the council and police to stop the sexual exploitation of at least 1,400 children by gangs of men.
The Mail understands two managers, Annie Redmond and Grace Davidson, who work under Ms Allen at the council, also worked at Rotherham.
Read more:

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

GIRFEC failed Mikaeel Kular

A mother who beat her three-year-old son to death and hid his body in a suitcase before sparking a huge search for him by claiming he had gone missing has been jailed for 11 years. Rosdeep "Rosie" Adekoya, 34, was originally charged with murdering her son Mikaeel Kular but pleaded guilty last month to the reduced charge of culpable homicide...
Lord Glennie told Adekoya at the High Court in Edinburgh: "What you did was cruel and inexcusable. Striking a child even once is bad enough...
Mikaeel’s death has also prompted an independent inquiry into the handling of the case by social workers after it emerged that he and his twin sister were monitored until weeks before the attack.

This is not only a failure by social workers - and we can be assured that we will never hear about them if past standards of reporting apply - but it is a failure of GIRFEC and the named person approach.

The named person is supposed to step in with early interventions in order to avert a crisis. Yet this was a family known to social services, with red flags a-flying, and the named person in place, chose not to do a thing. Or has there been confusion about the lead person role? It is worth reading the 2013 Report:
In considering the details of how a named person would go about their work, however, there were some very different expectations about the role. For example, there was doubt around the level of involvement that the named person would be expected to have in complex child protection issues, such as where a child’s plan was required. Barnardo’s Scotland described the named person role as "a named co-ordination point" and considered that "the moment we start talking about managing a child’s plan, we move into lead professional territory". Highland Council’s view was similar: "the named person would support early interventions but as soon as more than one agency got involved the co-ordinating role would move to the lead professional
11th Report, 2013 (Session 4): Stage 1 Report on the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill (914KB pdf)
See also


Monday, 25 August 2014

Community Education: education for social change

In the Report by Feld and Wilson, Community Ed An Expose we learn that the role of community education is to create a closer partnership between school and community and that the community educator is committed to the idea that people learn from the total environment. The school is asked to help solve community problems and the people of the community provide the necessary special resources for the instructional programmes of the school. It contains the idea of lifelong learning. (from cradle to grave)

According to one community educator, community education is not a `preconceived package` of classes or activities but a process that evolves through a dialogue between school and community. Robert Berridge (C.E. Journal, Feb 1972, p25) is quoted as saying: " changes attitudes, behaviours and life styles of participants and builds an atmosphere of understanding and education has broad implications for social change within the concept."

In the book "Opening the Schools - Alternative Ways of Learning", W. Fred Totten, details the scope of community education:

"There should be no misunderstanding about the scope of community education. In the truest sense, it is the total learning programme for all people of the community...In many respects community education is a way of life - a movement towards the establishment of the good society..."

It also has ambitions towards a world education and world mindedness.

"We must be futuristic...Those of us involved in World Education...must constantly think, look and reach ahead towards building a new world...our actions in the present reality of crisis must be motivated towards solving these problems and realising our dreams for humanity. We have a responsibility to see pupils whole...we are all earthlings and must consciously abandon our provincial attitudes if we are to be world minded..."(Dr Mitchell, in his article "Can Community Educators Build World Mindedness?) (C.E. Journal, Feb, 1972, p23)

Community Education and the United Nations

The following extracts come from a series of UNESCO booklets entitled, "Toward World Understanding":

"In our time, we need to dedicate education to the service of the human community as a whole. The ideal to be pursued is that, whether in the home, the social environment or the school, our children should be educated to live with others and to prepare themselves for citizenship in a world society...the school must also equip him with a wider knowledge of the nations and people who make up that community..."

"The kindergarten.. has a significant part to play in the child`s education. Not only can it correct many of the errors of home can prepare the child...for membership in the world society..."

"World wide organisation for the conduct of human affairs is therefore essential. No teacher with a sense of realism and even an elementary knowledge of world affairs will ignore this basic need or be indifferent to its consequences for education."

John Dewey supported these ideas in his teachings and writings:

"Formal education has a contributory role to play in providing needed information and promoting changed attitudes towards a new world order...Democracy in education...would mean the teaching of those values, attitudes and abilities most likely to contribute to the development of such a world order."

Dr Morris Mitchell connects world-mindedness with the United Nations:

"...and, finally, the teacher of community must find ways of relating experientially to the U.N. and UNESCO for they are the emerging concept of world community." (C.E Journal, 1972, p23)

Community Education and the Inquiry Method of Teaching

"The student, according to the `inquiry` concept, must view all knowledge as tentative rather than absolute, and `facts` are subject to continuous revision. No one is to be viewed as an authority on any subject - the student reads what he will and then `makes up his mind` in the critical light of his teacher and peers... many students are enthusiastic about it since bull sessions are substituted for hard academic work." (Dr Joseph Bean, author and lecturer)

It is reminiscent of Curriculum for Excellence, active learning, group work, interdisciplinary projects, talking and what passes for critical thinking - only it is not - for it is about building group consensus in the absence of a proper knowledge base. The point is to discourage individuals from working things out for themselves. Adults in community education are expected to work in groups in a similar manner. This is the process that is community education which is expected to result in the great transformational change towards a new world order.

The Soviet Union

"Contemporary community education in the Soviet Union can be traced back to the efforts of an early twentieth century pedagogue, A.S. Makarenko.. Makarenko`s `Gorky Commune` was a rehabilitation programme for some hundreds of homeless youths who were roaming the Soviet Union after the Civil Wars. The philosophy behind his programme focused on the fact that the parent`s authority over a child is only delegated to him by the community (State) and further, duty to one`s children is merely a particular duty toward the greater community...The family was secondary to the community. When the needs and values of the family conflicted with those of the greater community, there was no question which receives priority...the expressed purpose is to develop persons who possess the ability, expertise and motivation to obtain the pre-set community goals and objectives..."(Larry C. Helms, Regional Schools Supt. for Yukon, Alaska)

In Scotland the named person acting for the community intercepts between the family and the child. (There is no difference between this and the Soviet regime.) It is why there is never any mention as to what is to happen if the family conflicts with the named person. It is not supposed to happen.

Community Learning Development (CLD)

Here is what the Children`s Minister, Aileen Campbell, has to say about CLD:

CLD has a powerful impact on the lives of learners and communities, supporting them to identify and work towards change. Whether that change takes place in an individual’s life, helps to create a resilient and enterprising community or contributes to better public services in a changing landscape.

You have to ask why are learners supported to identify and work towards change?  Or we could ask, what is the planned future she is not telling us about and why is it never made clear?

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Humanity in medicine?

The free ebook can be found using the link below.

David Cameron`s new family test

David Cameron has launched a new initiative to put families at the heart of his government, by unveiling a test to ensure that all domestic policies help family life.
Cameron was speaking as new government figures showed that Britain had 500,000 "troubled families", costing the state more than £30bn a year. He is expected to say in a speech on Monday that for too long governments have taken decisions that ignore the impact on family life.

Louise Casey, who is running the government's initiative on troubled families, told the Sunday Times: "These families are off the barometer in the number of problems they have. This is the first time we have been able to evidence the extent of the problems."

The figure of 500,000 troubled families is quite surprising given that
Anne Longfield, Chief Executive of 4Chidren, speaking earlier this year had said that some local authorities were having a problem identifying their share of the 120,000 troubled families thought to exist.

But the problem has always been one of definition. According to Eric Pickles,  "If you live near one you know very well who they are." So he was talking about disruptive families, not troubled families.

However, the official view was that a 'troubled family' had five out seven of the following characteristics:

no parent in work
poor quality housing
no parent with qualifications
mother with mental health problems
one parent with long-standing disability or illness
family has low income
family cannot afford some food or clothing items.

None of those characteristics have anything to do with being a disruptive family. According to the article there is now going to be a renewed focus by helping troubled families who face unemployment, antisocial behaviour, debt and truancy. So the definition of a troubled family has changed and is more in line with Eric Pickles` view.

What does not change is the failure of the government to recognise that unemployment and austerity are stressing whole sections of the population and if they do not `turn around` their economic policies and get people back into work this trend will continue. Pathologising the poor is not the answer.

As for doubling the budget for relationship counselling and encouraging adoptions, these measures are pitiful in light of the bleak futures children in care experience.

See also

Saturday, 23 August 2014

MacAskill will not be meeting child abuse survivors

"Campaigners will meet with SNP ministers this week to discuss calls for financial compensation and a public inquiry into hundreds of cases of historic abuse in Scottish children's homes. They say Mr MacAskill was originally scheduled to lead the Scottish Government delegation at St Andrew's House in Edinburgh on Wednesday."

"However, he has now been replaced by two junior colleagues - public health minister Michael Matheson and children's minister Aileen Campbell - alongside community safety and legal affairs minister Roseanna Cunningham."

"The Scottish Government last night insisted there had been a `communication mix-up` and the cabinet secretary had never been scheduled to attend the meeting."

"Several of the campaigners will be from the In-Care Abuse Survivors group (Incas), including Frank Docherty - who exposed the scandal of unmarked graves at the notorious Smyllum orphanage in Lanark - and Helen Holland - who was abused in a Nazareth House home in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire."

See also  

Tam Paton abused boys as young as 8 years old


"A former member of the Bay City Rollers has told how he witnessed sex predator Tam Paton and his powerful accomplices dope and abuse boys as young as 8 years old."

"Pat McGlynn claims that he himself was molested by the former music mogul and other men while he was in the chart-topping band - allegations which he has reported to police several times over 35 years."

"However, despite a lengthy investigation into Paton in 2003 which resulted in "insufficient evidence" to bring charges, he believes that officers in Edinburgh have failed him."

"Last month, we revealed that a former Scottish Government advisor had uncovered evidence that Paton controlled a paedophile ring which operated with apparent inpunity in the capital for decades. Mr McGlynn, now 56 and a devoted father, agreed with Dr Sarah Nelson`s findings and said he had personally witnessed high-profile individuals from the diverse worlds of entertainment, law enforcement, genteel Edinbrugh society and organised crime attend sex parties at Paton`s secluded mansion."

Friday, 22 August 2014

The true story of Madeleine McCann

"Richard D Hall of produced a series of videos about the ‘complete mystery’ and blames the mainstream media among other culprits. He confirms The Truth of the Lie by Goncalo Amaral, who claims that Madeleine had died in the appartment."

"By analysing contradictions and changes of the McCann story and confirming the results of the sniffer dogs, he prepares the viewer for a whole set of information that is seriously diverging from all mainstream media versions, illustrating a plot ‘behind the scenes’ to feed stories to the mainstream media."
Here are the links for the four videos with the conclusion that if the truth were to come out in a trial, the State would have to fall:

Originally posted on

The UK`s child abuse scandal

"The UK’s child abuse scandal, rooted in the media, Westminster and the Royal Family and personified by serial abuser and BBC personality Jimmy Savile, has been shocking enough. But far more insulting to the victims, the nation and the world is the Cameron government’s attempt, in early July, to institute two separate child abuse inquiries led by establishment figures who, due to family and work connections, immediately faced suspicions of possible conflicts of interest..."

"The first inquiry was, conveniently, slated to deliver its report after the May 2015 general election but this one lasted less than a week before it was revealed to the public, though May already knew that the enquiry's head, Lady Elizabeth Butler-Sloss's late brother Sir Michael Havers was Attorney General when Geoffrey Dickens' allegations were made, and covered up..."

"Tapped by May to head the second inquiry into the police losing the evidence, due to report mid-September, is Sir Peter Wanless. He is the chief executive of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), a national charity for which Britain’s most prolific pedophile, Jimmy Savile, was one of the most high-profile "fundraisers."

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The End Game of Assessment

In the video, Anita Hoge recounts her experience of the Pennsylvanian school curriculum. Her research began one day when she was informed by her son that he had been given a weird test at school, one of many. Although the authorities were reluctant to provide them, she eventually gained access to the tests and discovered that the Educational Quality Assessments (EQAs) were testing children`s attitudes, values and beliefs. If children did not achieve the government approved outcomes after testing, they were provided with remediation and tested again. This process would continue until the child responded appropriately. So this was a child-centred, lifelong learning approach.

Because attitudes, values and beliefs are predispositions to behave in certain ways in certain situations, what was applied to the children in Pennsylvania was a form of behavioural modification, using Skinnerian techniques. Group pressure was used for reinforcement of the desired outcomes, and all of this was being done without parental knowledge or consent. There are lessons to be learned here.

Since school text books are being used less and less in the classroom, it is often difficult to know what children are being taught in school. In Scotland, Curriculum for Excellence has little to say about content. However, we are given lots of information about the importance of assessment to the learning process. For instance:
Assessment is an integral part of learning and teaching. It helps to provide a picture of a child's or young person's progress and achievements and to identify next steps in learning. It can also be used to identify and plan any support to achieve these goals. [Is this not similar to remediation in the Skinnerian sense?]
So what are the goals of Curriculum for Excellence apart from gathering a lot of data about pupils? Here is an interesting place to go. It can be seen that there is nothing new about Curriculum for Excellence and the outcomes are more about what children can do than with what they should know. Attitudes, values and behaviours are central to the curriculum and teachers are invited to engage pupils in the following manner:
Staff should discuss with learners what they are expected to learn. They should clarify and share learning intentions and success criteria and appropriate experiences for achieving these.

There are some contradictions:
Assessment supports learning by focusing on the process of children and young people moving from where they are in their learning towards their desired goals. [Here is a subtle shift to their goals when the goals have already been mapped out.] 

Pupils are invited to take part in their own assessments. In other words they are asked to internalise the goals and to reflect on them:

Learners do well when engaging fully in their learning, collaborating in planning and shaping and reviewing their progress. Approaches to assessment that enable learners to say, 'I can show that I can…' will fully involve them.

So will group work:
Peer assessment and other collaborative learning enables learners to support and extend each others' learning, for example by being aware of what is expected of them from looking at examples and devising and sharing success criteria.[This approach has the potential to change attitudes and values by applying peer pressure.]

It is clear that the curriculum in Pennsylvania is at a more advanced stage than Curriculum for Excellence because assessments are still being standardised in Scotland and teachers are encouraged to work with each other to obtain standardisation. Without standardisation, the data being gathered about pupils by way of their assessments will not be fit for making adjustments to the curriculum, research purposes, or even for behavioural modification. It is probably the case that most teachers are unwittingly engaged in building up a system that has the potential to work in a similar way to the educational system in Pennsylvania.

" The Framework for Assessment described in Building the Curriculum 5 provides an outline of the approaches to assessment to support the purposes of learning 3 to 18. It aims to create:
through collaborative working, a better-connected assessment system with better links between pre-school, primary and secondary schools, colleges and other settings to promote smooth transitions in learning, better understanding of effective assessment practice and sharing of standards and expectations, as well as more consistent assessment. "The notion of a knowledge based education has been tossed aside by Curriculum for Excellence and content has been streamlined to accommodate the time needed for `assessment for learning`. The system has been justified by claiming that assessment and feedback help learners to move forward in their learning. This may be true for formative assessments in a traditional education although even the claims made for that are highly exaggerated. See A Critical Review of Research on Formative Assessments ...
When it comes to assessments that include attitudes, values and behaviours, we are on a slippery slope towards a totalitarian regime where only government standards are approved and it is beginning to look like we are dumbing down our children to achieve it. Note that: "The Scottish Government, other national partners and education authorities will work together to build on local and national practices for quality assurance and moderation of assessment." Of course, there has to be a system for sidelining parents if progress is to be made and that comes in the form of GIRFEC.
The Early Years Framework and Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) highlight the importance of effective and sustained early intervention practices. These practices help to ensure that appropriate action is taken to provide the right level of support for children who are at risk of not achieving their full potential. [I do not think we need to ask whose standards will apply to measure potential.]

The Scottish people have a right to ask what Curriculum for Excellence and GIRFEC are really about. So far, all that has been provided are circular arguments, oft repeated phrases, and little sound evidence to support any of it.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Children and young people with learning disabilities are trapped in assessment centres

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation reports on NHS England data about the number of learning disabled people stuck in assessment centres similar to Winterbourne View assessment centre, 6% of whom are children.

The unacceptably high number of people with learning disabilities who are kept on a long-term basis in assessment centres has not been addressed :

The data reveals that:
More people are being admitted into assessment and treatment units than are moving out; between 31 March and 30 June, 358 people have been admitted into assessment and treatments units and only 261 have come out
78% (2,024) of patients still do not have a transfer date
Of the 577 people who do have a transfer date, 38% have a local council that is not aware they need to be transferred back into the local area
50% (1,296) of patients have a local council that is not aware they need to be transferred back into the local area
6% (147) of people in assessment and treatment units are children

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

2 children gagged from talking about fracking

"Two Pennsylvania children will never be allowed to discuss hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") for their rest of their lives, according to a settlement reached between their parents and a large oil and gas company."

"Stephanie Hallowich's 10-year-old boy and 7-year-old girl have been given a gag order, after a lawsuit by the family claimed that their children's health was being put at risk by the adjacent gas drills and waste water pond next to their property in rural Pennsylvania. The settlement, which paid the Hallowich's $750,000 for their relocation as well as to cover any lingering health effects, had the unusual feature of a gag-order on minors. After other, similar settlements, gag-orders have only been given to adults involved. "

"My concern is that they're minors. I'm not quite sure I fully understand," said their mother. "We know we're signing for silence for ever but how is this taking away our children's rights being minors now? I mean my daughter is turning seven today, my son is 10." Hallowich stressed in the 2011 court case the need to relocate her family away from the drilling, no matter what would be included in the settlement. "

"But the father of the two children remains concerned about further legal repercussions for his family, especially given that they've relocated to a nearby town, which is still in the center of the Pennsylvania fracking boom. "

See also:


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

12 year old dies after HPV vaccine

"Meredith Prohaska was an active, fun-loving 12-year-old girl one minute. A few hours later — she was unresponsive on the floor. In between that time, there was a trip to the doctor — and now, Prohaska’s family wonders if that’s what killed her..."

"Rebecca Prohaska took her daughter to the doctor for a sore throat. While they were there…"She got her first HPV vaccine at around 10:30, 11 o’clock that morning," Rebecca Prohaska said."

"At some point, Rebecca Prohaska says she remembers getting a handout about possible side effects."

"Thirty minutes later she was trying to sleep. I kept waking her up," Rebecca Prohaska said. By 3:30 that afternoon, Rebecca Prohaska went out for a half-hour to get food."

"I came back and I found her on the floor," Rebecca Prohaska said.

162 Deaths Following Gardasil Reported to VAERS as of March 2014

"Gardasil will become the greatest medical scandal of all times because at some point in time, the evidence will add up to prove that this vaccine, technical and scientific feat that it may be, has absolutely no effect on cervical cancer and that all the very many adverse effects which destroy lives and even kill, serve no other purpose than to generate profit for the manufacturers." - Dr Bernard Dalbergue  [See link below]

The risk of serious side effects are rare but are not mentioned at all on the NHS Scotland website: [See link below]

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Social and emotional learning in Curriculum for Excellence

Teachers have a crucial role to play in developing the minds of children.` So says Catherine Henderson, Development Officer from Place2Be, Scotland , a charity which offers support to teachers and also whole class work on particular issues such as friendship, self-esteem, concentration, confidence and bullying. One thing is certain: the issue of children`s wellbeing has opened up a whole new industry and a set of new responsibilities for teachers. Like many of these not-for-profit organisations, Place2Be tends to back Government dogma and provides the appropriate services.

As a major part of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) it is the responsibility of every teacher to contribute to learning and development through health and wellbeing.

Most of the ideas regarding mental health and social skills derive from
Daniel Goleman`s 1995 book  `Emotional Intelligence` which covers five main domains: self-awareness, managing feelings, motivation, empathy, and social skills. They are not portrayed as such in Curriculum for Excellence but they can be seen in some of the experiences and outcomes which result in a series of `I can do` statements for children:

`I can expect my learning environment to support me to`:

develop my self-awareness, self-worth and respect for others  
experience personal achievement and build my resilience and confidence
Other examples:
I am aware of and able to express my feelings and am developing the ability to talk about them. 
I know that we all experience a variety of thoughts and emotions that affect how we feel and behave and I am learning ways of managing them.

"In health and wellbeing, assessment has to take account of the breadth and purpose of the wide range of learning experienced by children and young people within this curriculum area...Teachers and learners can gather evidence of progress as part of day-to-day learning inside and outside the classroom and, as appropriate, through specific assessment tasks."
 How well are they applying personal and interpersonal skills as part of their daily lives, and developing them as they grow and mature?
Through their involvement in planning, managing and participating in individual and group activities in school and in the community, do they demonstrate skills, attitudes and attributes which will be important for the world of work, such as judgement, resilience and independence?

Recalling that personalised learning involves teachers and learners in discussions about the learners` next steps, it can be seen that learners will be challenged to reflect on their performance in certain tasks and to explain how they plan to make progress towards the learning outcomes. We are informed that: "Progression in knowledge, understanding and skills can be seen as children and young people demonstrate that they are: "
developing an increasing depth of understanding of their own and others’ motivations, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours
extending the range of their relationships within and outwith the school.

How many parents in Scotland realise that when they send their children to school they are going to be systematically and psychologically moulded into being a certain kind of personality? I doubt there are many. Of course, anybody with a bit of common sense knows that this is an experiment which will fail a lot of children. Some of the tasks are beyond the maturity and sophistication of adult learners, never mind children and young people. A review of a similar, smaller scale experiement in England showed no convincing results, although plenty of excuses. But is it an experiment that should be tried at all?

Carol Craig has written a report: `The potential dangers of a systematic, explicit approach to teaching social and emotional skills (SEAL)`.
 (C)hildren who are already expressing their feelings will get lots of lessons on the benefit and encouragement to do so and thus may express their emotions even more. Those who already have high self esteem, and perhaps too much focus on themselves, will be encouraged to value themselves and to feel proud when they might already be doing that more than is helpful

She claims there is a link between the self-esteem movement in the USA and falling educational standards. After all, if children do not need to work to earn self-esteem, why bother? The focus on subjectivity and feelings at school undermines the importance of objective information which is already being replaced in the pursuit of skills in other parts of the curriculum. Some would say this is part of the deliberate dumbing down of children.

For others, the world of objective facts is a welcome release from the world of feelings, but that is not going to be allowed, no matter what the child`s temperament, gender or circumstances. If a child is struggling with emotional difficulties, encouraging them to attend to their feelings may be the worst thing to do because it is possible to be overwhelmed by bad feelings and to get stuck in a dark mood. When it is realised that it will be teachers - who are not experts in these matters - who will have the day to day responsibility for managing the learning outcomes, the whole enterprise looks reckless.

It seems that gathering evidence of the great transformational change in education is more important to the Scottish Government than proceeding with caution.

So much for GIRFEC.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Planned arrest of Lord Janner was blocked

"Police were blocked from arresting a high-profile Labour MP suspected of child abuse more than 20 years ago, it was claimed yesterday."

"Greville Janner, now Lord Janner, was interviewed by appointment as part of a major inquiry into attacks on boys at Leicestershire care homes in 1991."

"The prominent politician and campaigner, who represented Leicester West, was accompanied by his solicitor and did not face charges. Detectives had taken legal advice from a senior lawyer on the rare and potentially controversial move of arresting the serving politician."

"This would have given them the power to search his home and offices, as well as taking his fingerprints and other evidence. But sources close to the case told The Times that at the last minute the planned arrest was blocked. It is not known by whom."

"Arrangements were made instead for Lord Janner to attend a police station by appointment with his solicitor, Sir David Napley."

"Leicestershire Police confirmed yesterday that the decision is being re-examined as part of Operation Enamel, which is looking at allegations against Lord Janner."

See also

Sonia Poulton @ Children Screaming To Be Heard Conference London 25th Ju...

Friday, 8 August 2014

Wellbeing for young Scots or an excuse for data collection?

The website is by and for young people to show them what is being done in schools and elsewhere to support their wellbeing. There is quite a lot being done, actually.

As well as their families and adults in the community who will be looking out for them, children are informed that head teachers, or guidance teachers, acting as named persons, will have a special role, and may sometimes use a `wellbeing wheel` to help them discuss any concerns they have. The wheel will make sure nothing is forgotten or overlooked because children must be safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included. Named persons would not want to miss anything out, now would they?

It is difficult to know what children in general will make of this but there is no doubt that some will find the prospect alarming. I am thinking particularly of those more introverted children who value their private space and dislike being the focus of attention. I imagine being under the all-knowing gaze of the named person day in day out in school will not be good for their wellbeing.

CfE ensures that health and wellbeing is covered in the curriculum and all teachers are responsible. With so much attention drawn to wellbeing there is the danger of giving the message to children that their wellbeing is a fragile thing, or that they just cannot measure up to the standards.

More likely they will spot adult insincerity when they see it. How about this?
Unless there were serious worries about your safety, the Named Person would nearly always speak to you before sharing information with other people.
Nearly always?
The whole point of this approach is to involve you in decisions that affect you. There might be some occasions when your Named Person (and perhaps others) need to make a decision for your own safety and protection but in most cases you will be fully involved. And there might be a time when someone else is worried about you and thinks your Named Person should know what’s going on.

Know what`s going on? That`s a sly one; it could mean anything. For 16-year-olds the message gets more hypocritical: they will be old enough to vote but not mature enough to avoid the prying eyes of the named person until they are 18. What does that say about being respected and responsible as aspects of their wellbeing?

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Home for disabled children has been closed

"A HOME for children with disabilities has been temporarily closed and alternative living arrangements made pending a council and police probe. Details emerged yesterday that children's residential services at Dame Hannah Rogers Trust children's unit in Ivybridge have been suspended until at least mid September."

"Devon County Council had to plan alternative care arrangements after the action was taken on Tuesday night. It is understood that the suspension came after the Trust referred itself to the authorities over safeguarding issues."

A spokesman for Ofsted said: "We have suspended the children's home registration while further enquiries are carried out."

"The suspension will last until at least September 16 and could be extended further."

Read more:

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

NO to the Named Person Roadshow 2014

 ?P Thursday 21 August ?P 7.30pm - 9.00pm

St Mungo Museum of Religious Life & Art, 2 Castle Street, Glasgow, G4 0RH


?P Wednesday 27 August ?P 7.30pm - 9.00pm

The McManus Gallery, Albert Square, Meadowside, Dundee, DD1 1DA
Booking desirable:


?P Friday 29 August ?P 12.00pm - 2.00pm

Terraces Hotel, 4 Melville, Terrace, Stirling, FK8 2ND Incl. lunch 12.00pm - 12.30pm. Booking essential:


?P Wednesday 1 October ?P 7.30pm - 9.00pm

Glenmoriston Town House, 20 Ness Bank, Inverness, IV2 4SF


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Will UNICEF help children stop GIRFEC prying?

13 year old swimmer Erraid Davies won bronze
An interactive website which teaches children about their rights has been launched through the partnership between Unicef and the Commonwealth Games.
The Child Rights Launchpad aims to help children explore and express their rights, such as good healthcare, protection from harm and dangerous work, to help them lead happier and safer lives.
The launchpad, for three to 18-year-olds, will be provided free to schools, community and sports groups and youth clubs in Scotland, with children supported by adults when they access the site.
It will go live later this month as schools return from their summer break and the programme aims to reach all children in Scotland in the next four years.

Given the legislation passed by the Scottish Government this year, will children in Scotland be assisted to look at Article 16 of the UNCRC?  It clearly states:

Every child has the right to privacy. The law should protect the child’s private, family and home life.

Will children learn that they do not have to fill in forms or questionnaires which ask them about their personal lives; do not have to engage with teachers in discussions about their lives outside the classroom; and can tell the named person to go away and leave them alone? 

If so, UNICEF will be the only organisation in Scotland helping children to make a stand against GIRFEC prying.