Saturday, 31 January 2015

Microchips for children ?

"Over 16,000 people have responded on social media after Stephen Fern, who runs the Lost Kidz company with brother Darren, sought public opinion on the subject."

"Despite acknowledging that an implant would be "invasive," Stephen said "over 95%" of people on social media had responded positively to the idea. "

"This clip is originally from 5 live Drive on Monday 26 January 2015."

"By issuing an alert, the parent ensures everyone within a 10 mile radius receives a picture of the missing child and an instant search party is assembled...."

"When sending the alert, parents can quickly add relevant details like where the child went missing and what he/she was wearing and all Lost Kidz app users within a one-mile radius will immediately be informed. If the child isn't recovered within five minutes, the alert goes to a wider radius of Lost Kidz app users and progressively expands in five-minute increments, eventually reaching a 25-mile radius."

There are no guarantees in life. Apart from the health and privacy issues, supposing the group of vigilantes are really part of a paedophile network?

Here`s the BBC promoting the idea to children. Need we say more:

Lack of specialist care in Scotland

"Vulnerable kids with severe autism are being failed because of a scandalous lack of specialist care in Scotland, it has been claimed. Charities and campaigners have slammed a woefully underfunded system which is letting down silent armies of parents struggling to get the support they need for their autistic children."

"One desperate mum has been forced to spend thousands of pounds travelling more than 200 miles to see her 16-year-old son in England. A dire lack of funding means loving mother Nina Ni has been denied the care her son Tianze desperately needs near his Scottish home."

Nina Ni has moved away from her Scottish home to be closer to her son Tianze.
She has a petition:

Friday, 30 January 2015

MPs disclosed identities of child abuse survivors

Mr Vaz
"A group of victims have written to the Home Secretary expressing ‘grave concern’ that documents leaked by a member of the inquiry were published online. The Home Affairs Select Committee published the documents on its website without blanking out the names of the victims, it has emerged."

"The revelation came after the Government admitted it had lost two confidential discs containing sensitive information – including the identity of the police marksman who killed Mark Duggan in 2011 sparking nationwide riots. Information relating to three judge-led inquiries including the fatal police shooting of Mr Duggan in Tottenham went missing after being sent in the post, the Ministry of Justice has admitted."

"The Home Secretary Theresa May has written to Mr Vaz describing her ‘dismay’ at the Committee’s decision to publish the documents, Sky News has reported. Mr Vaz is now understood to be apologising to the victims whose identities he accidentally exposed. The Committee released a statement tonight, admitting that it had published material which it had received without redacting the names of abuse survivors."

"One abuse survivor and his young daughter were approached by a convicted abuser after their details were published, it has been claimed....The news is likely to raise questions about the conduct of Mr Vaz, who earlier this week stated his intention to publish documents widely as a measure of ‘transparency’."
"The news is a further setback for the child abuse inquiry, which has been beset by controversy after two previous chairs were forced to step down after their links to establishment figures were revealed."

Petitioners want new rules on restraint for vulnerable children

"Care experts and parents of some of the country's most vulnerable children are fighting for new rules on restraining children with special needs in Scottish schools. The Scottish government is now being petitioned to draft new national guidelines following incidences in schools of "prone restraint, inappropriate wheelchair restraint and children being kept in seclusion". Scotland's Commissioner for Children supports the petition."

"For the children, many of whom have severe communication difficulties, this can be highly distressing and traumatic. One of the parents behind the petition is a mother whose own child, aged 11, was held face down on the floor by four adults at his school in such a way that caused symptoms consistent with positional asphyxia, and left him, she alleges, with over sixty bruises."

"The campaigners are also calling for the government to appoint a specific agency to monitor and evaluate the care of vulnerable children with learning disabilities and other special needs in schools. Beth Morrison, one of the parents who lodged the petition, said inspectors monitor education, but asked, "Who is inspecting the care?"

"The petition coincides with ongoing investigations into Kingspark school in Dundee, where eleven families have lodged complaints, alleging their children had been physically abused, neglected, or illegally restrained, and listed a shocking catalogue of unexplained injuries. "

"A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: "Updated guidance on the use of physical restraint was published in 2013 and can be applied in all settings, including schools." However, the document they direct people to, Holding Safely, is, Paterson believes, inadequate. "It was produced," he said, "for residential childcare and geared towards children with emotional behavioural disorders - a different population from those with severe complex global learning difficulties. "

Calum`s mum explains:

"This is the heartbreaking reality of what happens behind closed doors in some of our schools. There is some really good care out there. Calum was removed from Kingspark and now attends an excellent mainstream school with support base in Angus who do not use restraint and instead use positive behaviour support, patience and a lot of understanding. He is thriving now- thanks to brilliant staff who care. The stories Vicky Allan reported in the article were just a few of so many. Our special children are not criminals, yet they appear to have less rights and are treated worse than they would be in prisons."

"One parent was told by a staff member who used restraint on her 10 year old daughter "What's your problem? They use it in Broadmoor"

"Notice how none of the staff responsible for these incidents were ever held accountable? In my opinion it is legalised child abuse! Many disabled children struggle to have their needs met because many cannot communicate. How else can they tell someone "I am tired/ hungry/in pain/I can't cope"? if they can't speak they have to resort to behaviour. It`s not easy but there are ways of using proactive strategies rather than reactive responses which hurt and injure our children."

Kingspark in Dundee is not the only school to have had complaints around restraint.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Parents rally around their school despite Ofsted report

A school is put into special measures despite having the highest GCE scores in the district. Ofsted has its own agenda.

Here are selected comments in the Teaching Battleground blog which exposes what that agenda might be. There are a number of Ofsted assessments. (My numbering)

Comment 1

"What does the school need to do to improve further? Increase the proportion of outstanding teaching by… making sure that teachers do not dominate lessons by talking for too long or telling pupils things they could read or work out for themselves…"

Comment 2

"…Occasionally, teachers are too quick to explain things or to ‘tell’ pupils something that they could  have challenged pupils to explain or find out about for themselves."

Comment 3

"In the best lessons, teachers provide opportunities for students to work independently or collaboratively. This is not always the case and a few lessons are too dominated by the teacher, preventing students thinking for themselves and taking the initiative."

At this point the trend is obvious.

Here is my favourite.

Comment 4

" Pupils’ rapid gains in their learning are particularly evident during the parts of the lesson when they work independently or collaboratively on activities or challenges. For example, in an outdoor lesson Year 1 pupils were highly motivated by the challenge of making mud hedgehogs. Pupils worked together to use their problem solving skills, and a range of equipment to achieve a successful outcome. Occasionally, achievement is slowed down in lessons where these skills are not so consistently developed. "

Ofsted prefers mud hedgehogs to teaching. Their agenda is to promote progressive education - which means who needs teachers?It means more attention is to be paid to group work, values, attitudes, and behaviour - and this is why a school doing well academically could be placed in special measures.

For those interested in someone who challenged Ofsted successfully I recommend the Teaching Battleground blog which can be found at the link below.


Abusive UK child protection practices recognised by Europe

From the draft`Social Services in Europe: legislation and practice of the removal of children from their families in Council of Europe member States ` (26 January 2015)

Ms Olga Borzova reports:

"There is a particular problem which I was made aware of in the United Kingdom, but which may pose a problem in several other countries, too: many mothers who are victims of domestic violence themselves seem to be re-victimised by the child protection system as the child witnessing such violence (or threats of it) is considered to be subject to emotional abuse and thus significant harm. This means that, if the mother has nowhere to turn to, her child can be taken away from her. This is a problem which should not be underestimated, as the impact of the crisis and the effect of austerity cuts on social services means that more and more mothers are now trapped in abusive relationships (with shelters closing) and afraid to signal domestic violence lest their children be taken away from them."

"Similarly, mothers with serious postnatal depression also apparently can have their children permanently taken away from them, despite the fact that they may well recover relatively quickly and be able to be a good parent if treated."

"Unfortunately, some countries engage in practices which can only be labelled as abusive, even if they are well-intended. The most frequent of them are: the unwarranted complete severing of family ties, often in combination with removing children from parental care at birth, basing placement decisions on the effluxion of time and/or recourse to adoptions without parental consent.

In this regard, frequent recourse to removing children from parental care at birth should be a warning sign. Indeed, the European Court of Human Rights has qualified such a removal as "an extremely harsh measure" and "drastic", and has thus posited that a new-born can be removed from his or her mother only for "extraordinarily compelling reasons"

"The former Prime Minister Tony Blair went so far as to establish `adoption targets` for local authorities from 2001 to 2008.."

"While these targets have been officially abolished, the Secretary of Education during our fact-finding visit, Michael Gove, himself adopted, has also put much emphasis on increasing adoption rates in view of the 7.000 children in England on waiting lists to be adopted, and has allowed 30 large private adoption agencies and a plethora of smaller ones to get involved in the process."

Fraser and I are delighted to welcome Crawford, who arrived on 28th December, into our family and Angus is especially pleased to be a big brother.  

We have really appreciated all the lovely messages and want to thank the fantastic staff and midwife team in Wishaw and locally who have been so supportive during the pregnancy and birth.

We hope everyone has had a good Christmas and New Year and we are looking forward to enjoying our new wee boy - it's a great start to 2015!
Children`s Minister Aileen Campbell with her two young children
The GIRFEC approach in Scotland is not much better.

From the `Report on decision making on whether to take children into care` (2013)
"There is currently a strong policy focus on achieving permanence for children more quickly..."

"According to the Minister, the number of children 
becoming looked after under the age of one has increased by 50 per cent since 2007, while the proportion of children becoming looked after under the age of five has increased by more than 25 per cent..."

"The Scottish Government should explain how the trend for increasingly younger children becoming looked after is compatible with legal requirements around promoting the upbringing of children by their families."

"In oral evidence, the Minister described tangible progress in terms of adoptions from care doubling, and large increases in the proportion of younger children becoming looked after."

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Benefit Sanctions cause a deterioration in health and affect children

"Tens of thousands of families where no one works will have their benefits slashed, David Cameron is to pledge today...
As the campaign enters its final 100 days with two polls showing his party has moved into a narrow lead, Mr Cameron is also promising tax relief for the middle classes."

"He is determined to ensure welfare is no longer a 'lifestyle choice', while rewarding those who are in work. He will pledge that the Conservatives would reduce the limit on handouts to jobless families within a week of being re-elected."

"Housing benefit would be removed from jobless 18 to 21-year-olds, meaning they will have to live with their parents like millions of youngsters starting out in a job."

Read more:

"Lone parents with a child aged 5 or over are usually required to claim Job Seekers Allowance.... You are usually expected to be willing and able to take up work, take steps to find work, and not to leave a job voluntarily. You may be sanctioned if you do not meet these jobseeking conditions... "

"You can be sanctioned for losing a job because of misconduct; leaving a job voluntarily; refusing or failing to apply for or accept a job; failing to participate in `mandatory work activity`, Sanctions do not apply to child benefit or child tax credit."

On 21 January 2015 both the Child Poverty Action Group and Gingerbread gave evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee about the effects of benefit sanctions.

They began by explaining that letters sent to claimants are not always clear so that often people  do not realise they have been sanctioned until they go to the bank and then there is a crisis. Getting food on the table for the children takes priority. It is at the food bank that families might learn that they have a right to appeal the decision but by then they are having to deal with the consequences. There are an incredible number of sanctions that are wrong decisions, wasting time, instead of allowing people to get on with the business of finding a job.

The system takes the view that people will not make an effort to find work unless there are sanctions, but that is not the case. Sanctions do not change people`s behaviour. People are crying out for up-skilling, work experience and so on.  Moreover, on the work programme you have more chance of being sanctioned than you do of getting a job. The system is dysfunctional. At the job centre there should be a re-focus on sustainable work outcomes instead of a pile up of wrongful decisions which only cause a diversion from the important function of supporting people into work.

When they are sanctioned, less than a fifth of single parents are told about the Hardship Fund; yet children are affected by sanctions too, says Gingerbread. "We have a responsibility for the children`s welfare." But the reasons why you can be sanctioned have grown. 2.1 million families with children work on low pay and are now subjected to fixed length sanctions too. Families face sanctions if they do not increase their level of income or increase the number of hours they work. Some are already on zero hour contracts, banging their heads against a brick wall, but once sanctioned they can lose Housing Benefit precipitating a deeper crisis.

Child care is another problem. A mother with two children with special needs explained that they could not be left alone. She had recently become a single parent and asked what she would do. She was told by Job Centre Plus that if she left her job she would be sanctioned for three years. Other mothers are afraid to say they have child care problems for fear of being sanctioned, so they do not even have that important discussion about it.

There are exceptions made for single parent families but 43,000 were still wrongfully sanctioned. It is important, since there are children in these families, that they are automatically made aware of the Hardship Fund.

It is recognised by the DWP that sanctions do cause a deterioration in health. Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, quoted from the Decision Makers Guide:

"It would be usual for a normal healthy adult to suffer some deterioration in their health if they were without (1) essential items, such as food, clothing, heating and accommodation or (2) sufficient money to buy essential items for a period of two weeks."

"The Decision Maker must determine if a person with a medical condition would suffer a greater decline in health than a normal healthy adult and would suffer hardship." (DMG 35142).

It can be found at 01.05.53 on the video of the proceedings at link below: 


An unusual call for an investigation into social services

"MPs and foster carers have called for an investigation into claims a social services department wrongly removed vulnerable children.
The calls come after Norfolk County Council's children's services department - branded inadequate in an Oftsed inspection two years ago - suspended a team manager over allegations he removed a child from a foster carer without evidence of deliberate harm."

"The Norfolk Foster Carers' Association (NFCA) said it had been contacted by dozens of parents and foster parents making similar claims over the last four years. West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham and North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said there were suspicions this was not an isolated case."

"Both have been contacted by constituents claiming children have been removed from their care on the basis of apparently dubious evidence. Norfolk County Council refused to comment on the specific allegations but said it was aware of concerns which are being "investigated thoroughly and carefully".

"Mr Bellingham said that, if proved, the case risked "massively undermining" public confidence in the authority and should result in an independent inquiry. He added: "If this complaint is upheld, such is the seriousness and level of public concern, the only way that could be assuaged is to bring in an outside, independent expert to examine previous cases."

"The public will suspect that this goes beyond one individual."

Read more:

It is most unusual for a County Council to be held to account for removing children from their carers without just cause. John Hemming MP has been raising these kind of issues for years which occur all over the country. More often than not he is ignored by local authorities.

Could it be there is a move towards privatising Norfolk Council Children`s Services ?

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Leon Brittan`s death: questions remain

A former Minister last night took the sensational step of stating that Leon Brittan (pictured) stood accused of ‘multiple child rape’
"A post mortem examination into the death of the Tory grandee Sir Leon Brittan is to be carried out after police were called to his home by paramedics yesterday."

"The National has been told the police had wanted to interview the former Home Secretary within the next few weeks. "I've heard he had been told to attend a police station very recently – sometime this month," one source told The National."

"The death of the Conservative peer was surrounded in mystery after it emerged last night that officers went to his Pimlico address and that a post mortem examination would be carried out."

"A former Minister last night took the sensational step of stating that Leon Brittan stood accused of ‘multiple child rape’. Tom Watson, a Defence and Cabinet Office Minister under Labour, said he had spoken to a man who said the former Home Secretary raped him as a child, and a woman who said he raped her in 1967. He added that he knew of two other similar cases."

"Mr Watson said: ‘Many others knew of these allegations and chose to remain silent. I will not. The police must continue their investigations.’"

Stressed worker for social services gets suspended sentence

A 13-year-old boy and a girl aged 15  snorted cocaine at the party, Burnley Crown Court (pictured) heard

"A social worker who was high on drugs as she hosted an all-night party where children as young as 13 were given cocaine and vodka has quit her job in disgrace."

"Susan Downing, 37, who was said to be 'gurning with her jaw swinging' during the party, pleaded guilty to allowing her house to be used for the supply of cocaine and amphetamine."

"She was given a two-year suspended jail term after claiming she had been 'stressed' at the time."

"A 13-year-old schoolboy and a girl aged 15 who were at the 5am party in Rishton, Lancashire, said they were given cocaine to sniff through a straw and one snorted it off a key."

Monday, 26 January 2015

One law for them, and another for the rest of us: Mother beaten up in front of sick child

Reuters / Paul Hackett
"A police officer accused of repeatedly kicking and hitting a mother looking after a sick child in hospital has been cleared of actual bodily harm (ABH)."

"The woman was left with over 40 injuries after Warren Luke, a Metropolitan police officer, kicked and hit her after hospital staff told him she was refusing to leave."

"Luke was cleared on Thursday of any crime at Wood Green Crown Court."

"The mother, who remains unnamed for legal reasons, was looking after her daughter when the incident occurred in 2013. Hospital staff asked the woman to leave, the court heard. When she refused, four police officers were called."

"A video played to the jury showed the mother explaining the incident."

"‘You’ve got to leave, you’ve "got to leave,’ she reported Luke as saying.

"I kept playing with my daughter and then I saw him moving towards me. He was kicking me and kicking me. He had one hand on my head. When I fell on the bed he grabbed my hair and banged my head. I was screaming. I couldn’t defend myself. My ex-husband ran in and shouted, ‘why are you kicking my wife?’"

"Luke, however, protested that the mother’s behaviour had been "escalating" and he believed the child was in danger."

Obviously we do not know the context in which this extreme behaviour took place. There are a couple of clues: one is that the woman cannot be named for legal reasons; (child protection procedures in place, perhaps?) and the other is that the police officer claimed that he believed the child was in danger and it was escalating, although the only report we have of what the mother actually did was that she did not leave when asked to do so by hospital staff. Again, that does tend to suggest there were child protection issues on the go, and the police officer was able to draw on them in order to excuse his behaviour.

It would be a waste of time to speculate further.

The point is this: The `Cinderella Law` makes it clear that children must be protected from witnessing violence. If you are a parent these days, that is a crime. For instance, any mother who allows her child to witness her own abuse by the father, say, (physical or verbal) is guilty of failing to protect her child from emotional harm. Children have been removed from their mothers for that very reason.

Yet here is an agent of the state, acting on his beliefs, instigating violence, where these same rules do not apply.

Whatever the background, a sick child in hospital witnessing her mother being beaten by a police officer, has suffered an unbelievable trauma. 

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Underage girls given contraceptive implants

From the MailOnline:

"Girls as young as 10 have been given the contraceptive implant, potentially exposing them to ‘horrendous abuse’. The primary school age children are among thousands of minors given the slow-release contraceptive device since 2010 despite being far under the age of consent."

"The implants, which have never been tested on under-18s, were given to at least three 10-year-olds in the last five years, according to figures obtained by MailOnline. East Lancashire NHS Trust, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, in Liverpool, each gave the implant to a 10-year-old during the last five years."

"Meanwhile South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, based in Torbay, gave the contraceptive device to a 10 or 11-year-old, but would not specify which. During the last five years, at least 53 12-year-olds were given the implant, as well as a minimum of 281 13-year-olds."

"During the last five years, at least 53 12-year-olds were given the implant, as well as a minimum of 281 13-year-olds."

Read more:

From the FPA:

"Any competent young person in the United Kingdom can consent to medical, surgical or nursing treatment, including contraception and sexual and reproductive health. They are said to be competent if they are capable of fully understanding the nature and possible consequences of the treatment."

"Consent from parents is not legally necessary, although the involvement of parents is encouraged..."

"Confidentiality may only be broken when the health, safety or welfare of the young person, or others, would otherwise be at grave risk. " [And it will not be responsible parents who make that decision because who would consent to an untested contraceptive for their underage daughter?]


Friday, 23 January 2015

Who really wants a named person for their child ?

School children
From a wordpress blogger:
"If there is one thing that needs to happen its that families who have a child with a disability or a life long condition receive the same service. Its not even a postcode lottery for us (I hate when people say that), it is merely down to who works for us. We as families receive a patchy service that is inconsistent and full of judgements. GIRFEC will really help with this and it is one change that as a parent, child or young person we need to know a bit (not everything but enough) about so that if professionals don’t mention it to us we can mention it to them and we can also have a bit of knowledge about what it involves and how our child can benefit from this. If you are up to it and you can be bothered then check out the GIRFEC National Practice Model ‘A Guide to Getting It Right For Every Child‘ has all the information you need."
This is a Blogger with a disabled child who is full of hope that GIRFEC is going to make a difference, and sad for all that.

Written in June 2013, she probably does not realise that despite the rhetoric, GIRFEC and the named person have not been set up to help children in need. There is no money for that. GIRFEC is about monitoring and databasing the private lives of all children from birth to 18. It has more to say about data sharing than it does about addressing needs.

When the Scottish Government informs us that Scottish parents asked for the named person as a single point of contact, they are being duplicitous. The only parents who would look for a single point of contact are parents exhausting themselves running around the various agencies trying to get a care package together for their needy children.

Most parents in Scotland do not have a child in need. No parent in their right mind would request a named person to monitor their parenting and oversee the wellbeing of their children.

Holyrood, a current affairs magazine, has reported on the legal challenge against the named person proposal and Jackie Brock`s comment.
"Children in Scotland chief executive Jackie Brock said concerns over the proposal was the result of a "misunderstanding" of what the proposal would involve in practice."
How belittling ! As if discerning parents cannot see that the proposed named person scheme involves gathering the personal data of all children so that it is there - all of it - at the click of a mouse, hence the build up of digital data storage systems.

Liz Smith is one MSP who got it right. "I firmly believe the named person policy remains a huge error of judgement on the part of the Scottish Government,."... "It is neither necessary nor wanted by the vast majority of parents across Scotland who see it as a completely unacceptable intrusion into family life. It is also a policy which will divert resources away from our most vulnerable children at a time when local authorities are already overstretched."

Possible setback for Kate and Gerry McCann

Goncalo Amaral signing copies of his book.
Gonçalo Amaral
"Kate and Gerry McCann seemed to suffer a setback this week in suing former detective Gonçalo Amaral over his controversial book about the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine."

"In Lisbon’s Palace of Justice, Judge Maria Emília Melo e Castro handed lawyers in the civil action a written statement evaluating as proven or not a list of 37 points on which she intends to base her verdict. Neither the McCanns nor Amaral were present."

"Amaral supporters said afterwards that the statement made them feel cautiously optimistic."

"The McCanns are seeking €1.2 million in damages for the severe distress they say has been caused to them by the book, A Verdade da Mentira (‘The Truth of the Lie’), and a subsequent documentary."

"The judge ruled that while statements in the book may have psychologically affected the McCanns, the anguish suffered by the couple over their missing daughter preceded the book’s publication rather than being a consequence of it."

"She pointed out that the book was very largely based on facts in police files. While Amaral put forward the theory that the McCanns had hidden Madeleine’s body and fabricated a story about her abduction, he did not say they had killed their daughter, the judge said."

"In personal statements to the court last July, both Kate and Gerry McCann spoke not only of the great harm they believed had been caused to their family by allegations in the book, but that the allegations had hampered the search for Madeleine."

"The judge said Wednesday it had not been proved that the Polícia Judiciária stopped collecting information and investigating the disappearance because of the book’s contents."


Is Ofsted safeguarding children ?

Ariella Wilkinson, 10, came home in tears after being questioned by Ofsted inspectors. Her mother Lena said the questioning was 'completely inappropriate'
A mother has told of her ten-year-old daughter’s devastation that her school was branded ‘intolerant’ after she gave the wrong answer when asked ‘what is a lesbian’. Ariella Wilkinson came home crying after Ofsted inspectors interrogated her about homosexuality during a visit to Grindon Hall Christian School.

The free school, in Sunderland, has now been put in special measures after an official report found that discrimination ‘persisted’ at the school because of ‘homophobic language’. Parents say inspectors ‘aggressively’ questioned just a few young children about lesbian relationships to form the basis of their judgement. They deny their children are intolerant and are compiling a petition against Ofsted’s decision, which has the potential to close down the well-performing faith school.

Ariella’s mother Lena, 46, said: ‘The questioning was completely inappropriate. They asked her what lesbians were, and whether she felt trapped in someone else’s body. ‘She said she didn’t want to talk about it, because she was embarrassed. She didn’t know why they were asking and she wasn’t prepared for it. ‘She’s been crying a lot over it. She thinks the bad Ofsted report is her fault.

She added: ‘We don’t think it’s fair to be asking children these questions. ‘They’re highly personal and they’re also irrelevant. Ofsted should be assessing the school on the quality of the education. This is beyond its remit.’

A Department for Education spokesperson said of Grindon Hall: ‘This school has been troubled for some time and Ofsted have been monitoring it carefully. This report shows that problems persist and there are continued concerns about leadership, the quality of learning and safeguarding.’

Read more:

Judge breaks rules about secret imprisonment

"A High Court judge has ordered the name of a woman sent to prison to be kept from the public – despite rules saying no one should be jailed in secret. Mrs Justice Roberts defied instructions from Britain’s most senior judges by banning her from being identified."

"The single mother, who was jailed for seven days for contempt of court, was suspected of planning to flee the UK to stop social workers taking her daughter into care. She was found guilty after failing to surrender her passport and the girl’s on a court’s orders..."

"Her decision to order reporting restrictions was made despite guidance laid down in the Appeal Court less than two years ago on the authority of the most senior judge, the Lord Chief Justice.Mrs Justice Roberts made her ruling after being reminded by lawyers about the Appeal Court directions..."

"Lib Dem MP John Hemming said of the single mother ruling: ‘This is a coup against justice. Civilised countries do not bang people up in secret.’ As the row over her imprisonment grew, High Court officials announced that a new hearing in the case will be held today ‘where the judge will bring the attention of counsel to the mandatory aspect of the 2013 guidance’."

"In May 2013, then Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge and President of the Family Division Sir James Munby declared whenever someone is jailed for contempt they should be publicly named, saying: ‘There are no exceptions.’"

Read more:

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Secret files have been released, but not by the Child Abuse Inquiry

"A secret file on ‘unnatural’ sexual behaviour at Westminster that was given to Margaret Thatcher has been discovered.
The document contains allegations ‘of unnatural sexual proclivities’ against high-profile figures, and was prepared for the then Prime Minister in the 1980s.
Last night campaigning MP John Mann suggested it may form part of a cover-up over a VIP paedophile ring operating at the time.
Scroll down for video."

Top secret: An academic has unearthed this classified file about 'unnatural sexual' behaviour at the heart of Westminster but the Government will not release the document
Top secret: An academic has unearthed this classified file about 'unnatural sexual' behaviour at the heart of Westminster but the Government will not release the document.

Read more:

Ken Clarke can now be named as an alleged paedophile

Ben Fellows has been granted bail ahead of a plea and case management hearing at the Old Bailey on 20 July 2015.

"Benjamin Fellows, 40, is accused of perverting the course of justice." 
"He claimed Mr Clarke  ... of touching his "private parts" when he was a teenager.  Fellows, who claims to be an actor and former child star, is thought to have alleged the incident happened in 1994. He was said to have been working undercover for ITV's current affairs programme, the Cook Report. "



Guidance awaited for named persons

"Judge Lord Pentland, who resided over the Judicial Review, today rejected the deep-rooted concerns raised by various groups opposed to the Named Person scheme."

"In a written judgment, following a four-day hearing at the Court of Session last year, he dismissed claims that the Named Person proposal breaches human rights and data protection law."

"NO2NP will continue to fight against the Government’s controversial plans. All options for appeal will be considered...."

The spokesperson for the campaign added: "the judge places enormous trust in public bodies and in Government training and guidance to resolve the serious problems we are concerned with. While respecting his view, we don’t share that confidence."

"The legislation has not yet been implemented and there is no formal guidance on how it will be implemented. The judge says the impact of the Named Person provisions will very much rest on the guidance and so we will be scrutinising it in the most forensic detail when it is finally revealed."

"In effect, we are being asked to wait and see what happens in practice. That means when things do go wrong for families we will take up their individual cases to the courts and ask our judges to pick up the pieces."

Read more

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Child abuse in the police state

Whilst the Westminster CSA Inquiry continues to flounder, campaigners and victims of child abuse are being given a particularly hard time.

It has been reported by UK Column that Aberdeen court, where Robert Green attended this morning, has been turned into a star chamber. The sheriff ejected the public from the court who were warned that if there was any filming of people entering or leaving the court, they would be arrested. Proceedings were then moved to the smallest chamber in the building.

Robert Green who has campaigned for several years for a proper and thorough investigation into Hollie Greig`s allegations of sexual abuse by high establishment figures in Scotland has twice been imprisoned and has spent the past 295 days under what amounts to house arrest. He faces another possible term of imprisonment for charges that are still not clear. (violation of a non-harassment order ?)

At the same time, it was reported that Melanie Shaw, child abuse survivor and whistleblower, is now back in police custody after experiencing harassment by Nottingham police over the past few weeks.

Brian Gerrish reminded viewers that access to the records of all children`s homes in the UK has been restricted for 75 years or more, and that includes Beechwood care home where Melanie, and up to a hundred other children, were allegedly abused.

Why would the Government want to hide these records ?


Haut de la Garenne`s connections to the UK Child Abuse Inquiry

US journalist Leah McGrath Goodman who was previously banned from the UK and Jersey for investigating child abuse on the island  discusses the current Jersey inquiry and its links to the stalled UK Child Abuse Inquiry.

A child abuse survivor explores the complexities of the inquiry for victims:

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Police harassment of Melanie Shaw

It has been reported by UK Column that Melanie Shaw, child abuse survivor and whistleblower, continues to suffer police harassment since her release from prison.

Melanie has suffered a catalogue of abuse throughout her life, beginning with abuse by her own family as a toddler. She was also abused in foster care and then was badly physically and sexually abused in Beechwood children`s home. It was her testimony of abuse that allowed other victims to come forward. She has testified that some children at Beechwood committed suicide or were murdered.

The authorities were not pleased with Melanie and warned her that if she continued with her allegations Nottingham social services would remove her child. She continued with her allegations, and true to their word, her child was removed. There was then a trumped up arson charge made against her and she was imprisoned in Peterborough prison for three months. Now out of prison but on probation for three years the harassment continues.

She has received no benefits, no support worker and is followed by police and gets late night telephone calls from them that frighten her. Recently four heavily built police officers, in paramilitary uniforms, broke into her home by the back door, breaking the lock and door handle in the process. She was taken to a unit, strip searched, and threatened with being sectioned but released at seven in the evening, the same day.

Meanwhile Nottinghamshire police give themselves glowing reports on their website and rank themselves a ten for customer satisfaction.

No proper investigation of abuse at Beechwood has taken place.


Nursery worker faces being struck off

Nursery worker Samantha Wilson"A NURSERY worker who allegedly threatened to “batter” a toddler while tying him to a chair faces being struck off."

"Samantha Wilson is charged with tying the little boy to a chair on four occasions between August and October in 2012 by using an apron, a costume tie and a neck scarf."

"She is also accused of threatening to “batter him” if he did not sit down when told to and is also charged with tying him to a chair so she could forcibly feed him."

"The trainee support worker is to appear next week in front of a Scottish Social Services Council conduct hearing, who will consider the charges before deciding whether to ban her from working with children."

"Wilson was working at Bruntsfield House Nursery in Edinburgh at the time of the alleged abuse and harm offences."

Privately run Brookside school teacher to stand trial

24882D9600000578-2902972-image-a-1_1420878261564Jack Mount court case"A 95-year-old retired headteacher will become the oldest person to stand trial in Britain after he denied a string of sexual offences dating back over half-a-century."

"Jack Mount, who was born in 1919, faces 50 counts of abusing children over a 25 year period, between 1953 and 1979. The former head of the privately-run Brookside School, near Craven Arms, Shropshire, faces nine charges of rape, seven of indecency with a child, 20 of indecent assault, and 14 other serious sexual assault charges."

"The alleged offences involve 17 victims, both boys and girls, in South Shropshire, Barnsley, and Birmingham.
All the complainants were aged between seven and 13 when they claim they were abused by Mount, who lives in South Molton, Devon. Mount, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, appeared at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday afternoon for a plea and case management hearing."

"Britain's oldest convicted paedophile Frederick Smith, who was jailed for 12 months last June at Ipswich Crown Court for sexually abusing a schoolgirl over a 10-year period in the 70s and 80s, died last month at the age of 94 after falling out of his bed in Norwich Prison."

Curriculum for Excellence in Glasgow

Glasgow University
According to Glasgow City Council Education Services they now know much more about how children and young people learn. They say that it is imperative that we all understand that how we teach is as important as what we teach.

Actually it would be quite difficult to know what children are being taught in school these days because pupils no longer have textbooks and there is little work to be seen in school jotters. It is questionable what schoolchildren carry in their bags apart from their lunch boxes and PE kits.

Here is another piece of Glasgow City Council wisdom:

Sharing the learning outcomes keeps children and young people motivated and focused on the learning as opposed to the task or activity.

So there is the `learning` as opposed to the `task or activity`- and this is supposed to make sense.

They have more to say about learning with regard to thinking:
It is important to encourage children and young people not only to think but also to think about their thinking...Through the teaching of thinking skills, children and young people can be equipped with knowledge on how to think when approaching tasks and problems, especially during a collaborative process.

Well let`s think about the different processes here. There is the learning who knows what because it is opposed to the task or activity; and thinking about thinking; and the collaborative process - three processes of questionable importance that seem to be given more weight than what is actually learnt. So this is how we teach and it is gobbledygook. As well as this we are told that young people will be supported in recognising their own learning style (visual, auditory, or kinaesthetic) which turns out to be another complete waste of time.

We need to refer Glasgow City Council to a review of learning styles by Harold Pashler, Mark McDaniel, Doug Rohrer, and Robert Bjork. It is quite shocking that Glasgow City Council Education Services claim to know so much when they are obviously ignorant of this important review.  
As described earlier, the concept of learning styles encompasses not only a large body of written materials but also what seems to be a thriving set of commercial activities. The writings that touch on the learning styles concept in its broadest sense include several thousand articles and dozens of books. These figures may seem surprisingly large, but one should keep in mind the sheer number of different schemes or models of learning styles that have been proposed over the years. For example, in a relatively comprehensive review, Coffeld et al (2004) described 71 different schemes, and they did not claim that their list was exhaustive. 
The contrast between the enormous popularity of the learning styles approach within education and the lack of credible evidence for its utility is, in our opinion, striking and disturbing. If classification of students` learning styles has practical utility, it remains to be demonstrated.

A great deal of Curriculum for Excellence remains to be demonstrated.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Cycles of disadvantage

"Nearly a quarter of girls in care become teenage mothers, a shocking report reveals today. The Centre for Social Justice, the think tank set up by Iain Duncan Smith, paints a disturbing picture of a struggling care system shamefully betraying many of its vulnerable charges."
The Centre for Social Justice, the think tank set up by Iain Duncan Smith (above), paints a disturbing picture of a struggling care system shamefully betraying many of its vulnerable charges
Ian Duncan Smith
"Freedom of information requests show that more than 4,000 children go missing from care each year - and that 36 per cent of care leavers are not in education, employment or training by the age of 19."

"The CSJ warns of an inter-generational cycle of disadvantage it says is running through England’s care system. It has found that at least one in ten care leavers aged 16 to 21 who are parents have gone on to have a child of their own taken into care in the last year..."

"The report calls on the Government to create 'scorecards' to name and shame councils failing children in care. It also says care leavers should be given a step up in life by funding £2,000 apprenticeship bursaries."

"Local authorities spend £2.5 billion a year supporting children in foster and residential care - a real terms increase of three per cent since the coalition came to power."

"The number of children in care has risen to almost 70,000 - its highest level for nearly 20 years ... The state spends more each year per child - on average around £36,500 - than it costs to send a child to Eton..."

It is sad to see how some commentators to the article cannot see beyond the fact that some young women can and do become mothers, and in doing so fail to see the bigger picture - the child protection system is involved in an inter-generational cycle of abuse - a money spinner (yes, taxpayers money) which damages children.

Here`s one such commentator:
Oldncynical, Newport, United Kingdom,
OH Yes, pregnant at 16, council house, free furniture, money on tap out of taxpayers pockets, keep churning out kids for more income. So it has taken an acedemic (!) survey to tell us what we already knew. I know familes  (!)that are now into the 4th generation that have never done a days work.
The irony passes Oldncynical by, that is, that the current view in social care and the child protection system is that services need to intervene early in order to break families out of cycles of disadvantage whilst at the same time perpetrating the most cynical cycle of disadvantage there could possibly be.

As for cycles of worklessness, we only need to refer back to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation report which explored the existence of permanent worklessness across generations. It concluded that even two generations of extensive or permanent worklessness in the same family is a rare phenomenon.