Monday, 29 February 2016

Bring back silos; end joined up working

Most parents believe their children are going to school for an education. Recent disclosures suggest otherwise. For instance, the Telegraph, amongst others, has an article about the surreptitious assessment of children in Scottish schools. It seems that the Scottish Government wants to know everything there is to know about parents and families.

"Teachers across the country are being trained how to assess pupils, with some using a tool called "What I Think" designed for children up to the age of eight, including those at nursery. Information can come from a variety of sources such as conversations, drawings, photographs and recordings."

"Named Persons are advised to obtain the data in a `natural` way so that youngsters do not suspect they are being targeted, for example discovering who prepares a child’s meal at home using a casual conversation at snack time."

"The system also provides a number of sample scenarios that suggest a child could be at risk, such as them not missing their mother when they stayed overnight elsewhere or them being shouted at by their father after having an accident when playing alone in a park."

"However, Maggie Mellon, vice-chairman of the British Association of Social Workers and a former director of the charity Children 1st, told the Mail on Sunday: "The fact that these actually very biased and partial anecdotes will be going on a national database is extremely worrying and should make everyone sit up and say ‘no’."

Despite systems supposedly being in place to protect vulnerable children - which will not be changed - THAT is not good enough according to the Named Person legislation. Databases are going to have to be flooded with private and sensitive information about ALL children and their families. We have to ask, in what way, are vulnerable children going to benefit from that ?

I can`t think of one reason.

All I can see are the endless child abuse inquiries which expose how vulnerable children have already been abused by the system.

Do we need to go on fishing trips to find more ?

Or should we be cleaning up the system we already have  ?

I say, it`s time to bring education back into schools and to leave a reformed social work to social workers, not teachers, or other untrained professionals.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Public Services Ombudsman, Jim Martin, criticises Named Person scheme

"A decision by ministers to appoint a `state guardian` to every child in Scotland has led to accusations of unwarranted interference in family life and claims that resources will become so stretched that the genuinely vulnerable might not receive the attention they desperately need."

"Supporters of the law say it will ensure more cases where children are neglected or in danger will be uncovered and dealt with sooner. They also insist named persons will not have the right to intervene where no problem exists..."

"It is important to remember that mechanisms to ensure that children at risk are identified have existed for decades. Social work departments do much to assist in cases where children are believed to be in danger."

"The concerns of those who fear that the new legislation will weaken the focus on those in real need cannot be dismissed. But those who opposed the appointment of `state guardians` have already lost the argument: named persons are soon to be a fact of life and will remain so until the Scottish Parliament decides otherwise."

Privacy Risk Assessments - Information Commissioner`s Office

"It is troubling that this new legislation faces such fierce opposition from parents, churches, and politicians. Perhaps more worrying still is the suggestion that the law may be flawed."

"Today, we reveal that the Public Services Ombudsman, Jim Martin, has written to MSPs to express concerns about the system being put in place. He suggests the regulated system being introduced by the Scottish Government will not be flexible enough to adapt if changes to the way complaints are handled are deemed necessary."

"Furthermore, he points out that the procedure to be followed in the case of concerns about the actions of named persons are out of step with those elsewhere in the public sector."

Read more:

Who`s left now who has not criticised the Named Person scheme ?

Martin Crewe of Barnardos` who thinks Jim Martin has `blown` his concerns `out of all proportion.` Actually, given the enormous transformation between the individual and the state that this legislation entails, I think he`s been pretty low key.

Confident as ever, Martin Crewe is off tomorrow to chair the Capita Conference about implementing GIRFEC and the Named Person.
There`s something `inflexible` about a man who ignores the evidence and always thinks he knows better than everyone else.

Government databases will store psychological data

"Schoolchildren are being subjected to ‘covert’ psychological tests as part of the SNP’s new state guardian scheme..."

"The answers will be stored on a giant government database network and then analysed to pick out pupils for further investigation by Named Persons to which every individual child will be assigned later this year."

"Scottish pupils will then face the intrusive tests regularly throughout their school careers after the system goes ‘live’ in August..."

"Simon Calvert of the No To The Named Person campaign, which is spearheading a legal challenge to the scheme, said the latest revelations were ‘creepy’..."

"Psychologically manipulating youngsters so you can squeeze confidential information out of them is fundamentally wrong but to store all this information on a giant council database is astonishingly foolhardy..."

Hopscotch Theatre
"Younger children will be encouraged to divulge information about their home life in lessons which include prompt cards, games and songs to familiarise them with the Scottish Government’s definition of well-being."

"Older children will face a series of questions, on areas ranging from home life to sexual health, which ask them to rate experiences on a scale from zero to ten."

"Teachers across the country are now being trained to transfer the children’s answers into the database. One of the tests, a Scottish Government-endorsed tool called ‘What I Think’, is designed to tease out details of pupils’ family lives with leading questions, even in nursery schools..."

"Each of Scotland’s 32 local authorities is already given software to keep track of pupils’ attendance, performance and behaviour on a system called SEEMiS, with information shared with the Scottish Government and the NHS."

"But the system was upgraded last Thursday to include a section with a ‘Well-being Application’ which will act as a repository for data which will be accessible only to designated state guardians."

"Critics say the profiling scheme goes even further than a controversial ‘ContactPoint’ system in England which was scrapped in 2010 following warnings it was illegal and unsafe."

Read more:

Boy C is going home

"For hours on end Boy C was stuck in a padded room, he wasn't locked in instead, staff clung to the door handle outside to stop him getting out. He repeatedly head butted the wall and tried to claw his way out. After four years of complaints from his family the case went to the High Court. A judge ruled that what went on was illegal, depriving the teenager of his liberty. Wigan council was the local authority which sent Boy C to Beech Tree School in Bamber Bridge and it was the charity Scope who were running it."
"Well, Chris, the `boy in the blue room` is finally going home on Monday after 10 years in various ATUs. Well done Lynne & Luke. True Ninjas who never gave up the fight." - Mark Neary

NHS fails to provide appropriate assessment and treatment

"TV presenter Tanya Byron is among thousands of people supporting a family’s fight to secure the right care for their autistic teenage son."

"The psychologist... said the case of 15-year-old Matthew Garnett was a `breach of human rights`."

"Matthew has spent six months on a locked psychiatric ward because of a lack of specialist support elsewhere. More than 20,000 people have signed a petition launched by his parents Robin and Isabelle."

"The couple from West Dulwich, who face a  70-mile, four-hour round trip to visit their son, want the NHS to transfer him to a specialist autism unit for assessment and treatment. Their #makeroomformatthew campaign highlights the lack of specialist support for people with autism as well as learning disabilities."

"Matthew has been detained under the Mental Health Act at the Cygnet Hospital Woking in Surrey since September. The Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit is the equivalent of an A&E but for people with mental illness."


"Mr Garnett claimed his son had deteriorated `on all fronts` since being admitted, and thinks he is in prison. He said: “Matthew’s chances of recovery are diminishing every day that the NHS fails to provide him with the appropriate assessment, treatment and care he urgently needs..."

Read more

Saturday, 27 February 2016

South Yorkshire police refuse to disclose data

"Victims of child sexual abuse in Rotherham are set to take South Yorkshire police to court to force them to hand over confidential records on how they handled decades of abuse in the town."

"A Sheffield lawyer, acting for 65 victims, has said he has no other choice as the force is refusing to disclose data, call logs and other documentation that could establish if allegations that officers turned a blind eye to grooming in the town were true."

"David Greenwood believes if he can prove this is so, the girls, now women in their 30s and 40s, will have a case under Article 3 of the Human Rights Act, which protects against torture but also `inhuman or degrading treatment`..."

"Initially he met with the same resistance from Rotherham metropolitan borough council, which the victims are also planning to sue over alleged negligence."

"The council has now conceded that it is safe to make the disclosures after Greenwood gave a legal undertaking that the documents would not be shared with the victims, but used to establish if there was evidence for civil proceedings."

" `The police are putting up stiff resistance,` said Greenwood. `The police and the CPS don’t like it. I have offered them the same undertaking as the council and they are still saying no’."

"He plans to make an application for pre-action disclosure in the next two weeks..."

"Adele Gladman last year described how her evidence was ignored by Rotherham council and South Yorkshire police after she provided them with information about suspected abusers."

"In evidence to the home affairs select committee, originally given anonymously, she said she had raised concerns with police as far back as 2001 that children were `actively being placed at risk by social care and the police because of a lack of action against suspected abusers and a lack of support and understanding of the issues for the children concerned`."

"She said her concerns were repeatedly dismissed by police as anecdotal and when she submitted her report to South Yorkshire police, the feedback she got was that it was unhelpful..."

"It was revealed on Wednesday that the Independent Police Complaints Commission was investigating 54 named officers as part of a major inquiry into allegations about how South Yorkshire police dealt with child sexual exploitation in Rotherham."

Medical tyranny in Colorado

"Over the last few years, the for-profit vaccine industry has increasingly turned to state coercion to intimidate and criminalize parents who seek to protect their children from vaccines. Even as vaccines have been proven to cause widespread brain damage in children as openly admitted by the UK government last year -- and now the American College of Pediatricians is warning about the harmful side effects of Gardasil -- some Colorado lawmakers think the state government should force these toxic injections onto children in total defiance of the preferences and beliefs of their parents."

"The CDC openly admits that vaccines contain multiple brain-damaging chemical adjuvants and preservatives,
including neurotoxic mercury, aluminium, MSG and formaldehyde..."

"The march of vaccine tyranny continues across America thanks to wildly corrupt government and a sellout mainstream media that participated in absolute censorship of the CDC whistleblower Dr. William Thompson. He openly admitted to taking part in CDC science fraud to alter data
and cover up any statistical link showing that vaccines cause autism in African-American boys. There isn't a single mainstream media outlet that covered that story... even though it was one of the most historic whistleblower stories in the history of medicine."

Learn more:

Friday, 26 February 2016

The destruction of education

`Crimes of the Educators` with Alex Numan

Following Alex Numan`s talk about the history of education in America, Dr Duke Pesta, speaks about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Despite six years of Common Core and about 400 talks in forty different states, he is disappointed that there is still about ninety percent of every audience who does not know what Common Core is. It is for that reason Common Core is winning.

"What is farce?" he asks the audience, and gives a quote from Karl Marx. "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce."

"What Marx meant by that is if you win the battle of history, if you tragically transform, then everything that comes next is farce. And Common Core is nothing but pure farce."

He continues: "So Alex took you over 100 years to show you how American Education went from the best in the world... the most equitable - went from all of that to being a tragedy, a tragedy of too much corporate involvement, too much meaningless testing, too little real accountability."

"They have got us dizzy with a thousand different crises every week," explains Pesta. "Trying to pay a mortgage, gas prices, keeping up with everything... Lack of transparency is a huge advantage."

"Say what you like about Obamacare ... it did appear in front of the Supreme Court. None of that happened with Common Core. Nobody was consulted about Common Core. I`ve said it many times in my talks that educational reform is every bit - probably more dangerously transformational than even healthcare, because you`re getting kids - and you are completely warping them with regards to how to view their own government, with regards to how to view their civic responsibilities. You`re shielding them from critical information about what`s made this country successful ... You`re shielding that information, and you`re replacing it with a lot of loaded propaganda."

Pesta identifies the real turning point in American education as taking place after the second world war and provides a quote:

"Far too many people in America, both in and out of education, look upon the elementary school as a place to learn reading, writing and arithmetic..."(1947)
National Education Association.
"A lot of people are waking up and saying, well what happened to reading, writing and arithmetic?"

"They had no intention of leaving it that way." says Pesta. "You heard about Horace Mann; you heard about John Dewey."
"Education for international understanding involves the use of education as a force for conditioning the will of the people..."(1948)
National Education Association  
"This is globalism. This is UNESCO. The purpose of modern education in post-war America is to transition American kids - not to teach them to read, write and critical thinking - but to transition them to global existence, to global citizenship."

"And by the time you get to 1969:"
"Schools will become clinics whose purpose is to provide individualized, psycho-social treatment for the student, and teachers must become psycho-social therapists..." (1969)
National Education Association.

Well, a lot of these ideas might originate in America but they do cross the Atlantic and are settling into classrooms in Scotland under the guise of health and wellbeing.

Eton college student avoids jail

"A former Eton College student avoided jail today despite making and distributing ‘appalling’ indecent images of children and bestiality film clips."

"Andrew Picard, from Westminster, London, was found with more than 2,000 pornographic images of children on his computer at the prestigious school near Windsor, Berkshire."

"The 18-year-old son of a top lawyer sat in his college dormitory sharing the pictures in chat rooms and was 17 when he was caught sharing material with an undercover police officer."

"Picard, who was arrested at Eton after his IP address was traced there, admitted ten counts of child pornography - and at Oxford Crown Court was today handed a ten-month prison term, suspended for 18 months."

"He was let off jail after being credited for his work with doctors in the past year to address his offending - but this was said to be a perk of his privileged position."

"The offences dated from January to February last year when Picard made indecent images of youngsters and shared them via chat messages on Skype."

"Thousands of images and clips were found on Picard’s computer and hard drive that showed acts so appalling that Judge Peter Ross could not bring himself to describe them."

Paedophile jailed for 3 years

"A man who bound a young girl, shared images of abuse and fantasised about murder has been jailed for three years."

"Raymond Robertson, 41, was caught after he shared a photo online of the girl being abused at his former home in Stewarton, East Ayrshire."

"He was later convicted of offences between March 2011 and March 2014."

"Robertson's name will be added to the sex offenders' register indefinitely and he will be monitored for two years after his release from prison."

"Kilmarnock Sheriff Court heard that Robertson pretended to his victim that he was playing a game..."

"He then used gaffer tape and cord to tie her against a bunk bed and took pictures as she struggled to get free..."

"Police Scotland was alerted by Cheshire Constabulary following the arrest of convicted paedophile Terry Moore, from Chester."

Jailed for three years which means he`ll be out in 18 months.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

No evidence BBC bosses knew about Jimmy Savile

"There is no evidence BBC bosses were aware of the widespread sex attacks carried out by Jimmy Savile in which children as young as eight were abused."

"Dame Janet Smith's independent review of the BBC culture in the years that Savile and fellow presenter and sexual predator Stuart Hall worked there found there was a culture of `reverence and fear` towards celebrities at the corporation and that `an atmosphere of fear still exists today in the BBC`."

"The reports finds that Savile carried out sex attacks on 72 victims in `virtually every one of the BBC premises in which he worked`. "

"It states that no senior manager at the BBC `ever found out about any specific complaint relating to Savile's inappropriate sexual conduct in connection with his work for the BBC`."

"However, it says some junior and middle-ranking staff were aware of Savile's `inappropriate sexual behaviour. In total, 117 witnesses who had worked at the BBC had `heard rumours` of Savile's activities."

The changed relationship between social workers and families

by Maggie Mellon, (BASW Vice Chair)

"I believe that suspicion of parents and of families has become corrosive, and is distorting the values of our profession. For the last 20 plus years the number of investigations or assessments into families suspected of child abuse has climbed steadily upwards and now accounts for one in 20 families in England and Wales... "

"Despite there being no significant rise in the number of children who die as a result of parental abuse or neglect, risk of abuse is assumed to be high. What does this say about how social workers view parents and families? And, just as importantly, what must it tell us about how parents view contact with social services? I believe that the evidence is mounting of mutual distrust and fear. Lauren Devine and Stephen Parker, the authors of this analysis, and other critics of current social work practice, suggest that need has become conflated with risk, and that child protection has become inseparable from family work. The assumption in any contact with families is that risk is probable and must be screened for. No matter how many assessments find no grounds for child protection measures, the number of assessments continue to climb."

"There can be no doubt that many families are suffering. Need and poverty are rising, as work doesn’t pay, benefits are cut or stopped without any assessment of risk to children, homes are insecure, and warmth is a luxury. Child protection from hunger, cold and misery is certainly not on the government agenda. And yet what used to be a major focus of social workers – empathising with and supporting people facing personal and social adversities, drawing attention to injustices and inequalities and needs – has now almost disappeared in this area of work... "

"That is the reason behind BASW hosting a visit to England and Scotland from David Tobis of Maestral International, who brings a message from New York, a city that contains even greater extremes of inequality. Tobis is author of From Pariahs to Partners, which describes the journey taken to challenge and change policy and practice in New York where rates of children in foster care were soaring, and was in fact putting children at more risk than they were in their own homes..."

Read more

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Corporate parents: collaborating to improve outcomes for looked after children

Who Cares is a third sector organisation which provides advocacy in Scotland. They have 28 advocates spread across Scotland whose role is to listen to young people in care and when huge decisions have to be made about their lives the advocates will accompany the young people to represent their views. Kevin Brown who manages the National Corporate Parenting Programme at Who Cares was speaking at the Aberdeen Learning Festival 2016.

"Another thing Who Cares does,"  Brown explains, "is to try and identify whether individual experiences are shared by the collective and, if so, to influence the Scottish Government and the public to understand how they can help looked after children"... "This is where the National Corporate Training Programme sits within our organisation," says Brown.

"The legislation for corporate parenting, which is covered by Part 9 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, came into effect on lst April 2015. For looked after children it applies from birth right up to the age of 26. Corporate parenting is a holistic definition and it is important because it helps practitioners to work from a shared frame of reference."

Brown then puts forward the case of an imaginary child, Fraser: "He is one of our 15,580 looked after children...  Social Services became involved after Fraser`s dad died and his mum turned to alcohol."  At first Social Services put in the interventions in the community but unfortunately Fraser`s mum was not able to engage with that and Fraser was taken into formal care.

Data sharing encouraged

"So although on the surface quite sad," says Brown "what we should feel confident about as a society and professionals is that we have got a fantastic care system that can look after Fraser and that can provide him with a fantastic life. And why should we think this ? Well, first and foremost, the majority of children become looked after through no fault of their own - so over 90%. They go through the children`s hearing system: the hearing system is there to assess the child`s needs by a range of professionals and then they will make a decision that is in the best interests of that child. So that gives me confidence that Fraser is going to be looked after, and that his being taken into care, is the right decision."

"Also, our care system unlike other countries has been regulated since 2001.  So we`ve got regulation and registration. This means that we`ve got scrutiny bodies that are there to make sure that we provide an excellent standard of care.  Now I`m feeling really confident that Fraser is going to receive the care that he needs to grow, develop and thrive."

"Also... we have got qualified workers educated to degree level. We have social workers, teachers, educational psychologists and in some cases we have foster carers who are trained to provide specialist support and also alongside that we`ve got residential childcare workers. So, there are a huge amount of professionals wrapped around Fraser who understand human development, learning, attachment, nurture. So Fraser should have every chance of succeeding in life. And last, but by no means least, out country since 1995 has produced over thirty social policy legislative and guidance documents all created to improve the lives of children, half of those specifically for looked after children."

"In 2004 and 2009 the Additional Support for Learning (Scotland) Act came into effect and this said that the legal presumption for looked after children is that they have automatically got additional support needs unless otherwise assessed. So Fraser`s needs will be individually assessed by professionals; things are looking good for Fraser; he should have an excellent life. That`s where the confidence comes from. That`s what we should take forward."

"Where we start to feel less confident is when we start to look at the outcomes across the social wellbeing indicators. Currently, here and now, our looked after young people are seven times more likely to be excluded from school."  Referring to the individual needs assessment, Brown continues: "The Scottish Govan Law Centre after conducting research, has reported that over 6,000 looked after children have not had their needs assessed... So this tells us that the legislation is not being implemented properly."

"Seventy nine percent of care experienced people leave school on or before their 16th birthday.  A third of young offenders are said to come from a care experienced background and, finally, thirty percent of the homeless population are said to be care experienced. So the question I pose to this audience is why is it our outcomes for looked after children are so poor, given the investment and the professionalisation that we have developed around this child? "

He goes on: "Seven percent of our care experienced young people leave school and go on to higher education, and this is compared to thirty nine percent of our overall population - so, hugely under-represented in higher education."

"Here are some of the reasons," explains Brown. "Young people that become looked after experience disruption; we know there`s a lot of relationship building but there`s also a lot of relationships broken. Sixty eight percent of children experience three or more placement moves... What`s significant about this is that we know that the more placement moves a child has in an academic year the worse they do in education. And they move to various placements for various reasons. So right now there`s a huge shortage nationally of foster carers. So there`s a huge shortage of placements for young people to be looked after. So that`s one of the reasons..."

"On a cultural level we know when it comes to looked after young people, we have yet to meet a local authority in Scotland who has got an education policy that actually prioritises education. Why ? Because our children systematically get taken out of school to attend hearings, assessments and meetings with professionals..."

"So this is Fraser now. He`s ten years old. He struggles with learning and he`s got potential learning difficulties. Why is this? Because his needs have actually not been assessed. He`s moved four times since becoming looked after; his attendance is seventy five percent in school and in 2015 Fraser attended three children`s hearings within a four month period, all of which took place during school hours. He feels different from school and isolates himself from his peers..."

"So what is the solution? "

"For the Scottish government and for Who Cares Scotland, the solution is corporate parenting according to the definition we have seen earlier. As I mentioned,  on 1st April 2015,  twenty four corporate parents (public bodies) were named in the legislation. In reality there`s over 100 corporate parents. We`ve got every local authority in Scotland; we`ve got every college and university; we`ve got every health board; we`ve got every specialist health board, so there are hundreds of corporate parents. What this legislation does is it moves away from the traditional view that looked after children are the responsibility of social work and education. It places duties and responsibilities on all of these corporate parents: Skills Development Scotland , the Scottish Qualifications Authority - all of these organisations have to meet the needs of their looked after children. And what is really significant about this legislation is that one of the key duties is that corporate parents must be alert to things that might adversely effect the wellbeing of a looked after child. .."

Brown gives an example: the SQA will now provide the Scottish Children`s Reporters Administration with its examination timetables so that hearings can be avoided that clash with exams.

"So corporate parenting is a real opportunity to question each other`s parenting styles," he says, " and offer each other support. So this was the original quote that you saw on the screen when we started this part of the session...It says a parent who loves their child would do anything for them... "

Having said all of that Brown admits that outcomes for looked after children have remained relatively static.

Perhaps that is because, for all the talk and no matter how good the intentions, a hundred corporate parents will never have the same commitment as a parent.

Regardless, these corporate parents are encouraged to share the data about Scotland`s most vulnerable children all over the place.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Whistleblower is sectioned in order to silence her

Whistleblower Carol Woods is a qualified teacher and an experienced social worker who has been harassed by Lancashire Police and Lancashire County Council.

"The situation arose after the unlawful eviction of residents of two children's homes by Lancashire County Council, who wanted to sell the land for use as a Casino. The process they followed was unlawful. Carol objected because some children would be made homeless as a result. Carol warned Lancashire County Council and they ignored her. The Council was more concerned with money than children. The murder of Shelia Bridges is, in fact, Corporate Manslaughter, and Lancashire County Council social services needs to be brought to book for it."

"Carol has been unlawfully and fraudulently sectioned and incarcerated in a mental institution by Lancashire Police, in order to silence her. There is absolutely nothing wrong with her mental health. Urgent intervention is required and a public inquiry into the deep corruption in Lancashire."

Here is the interview on Freedom Talk Radio.

Rantzen says investigating past crimes against children is a waste of time

"Childline founder says that police forces should use their limited resources to catch paedophiles currently at large, rather than ones who are long dead."

"Esther Rantzen, the Childline founder, has urged police to concentrate on protecting today’s victims of child abuse rather than `wasting time` on multi-million pound investigations into people who are dead."

"The former television presenter,... said paedophiles abusing children today might avoid detection if police were using their limited resources to delve into the distant past."

"Ms Rantzen was speaking after it emerged that Wiltshire Police is to spend more than £100,000 recruiting four civilian investigators to trawl through the late Sir Edward Heath`s private papers for evidence that he was a paedophile..."

"The investigation began last year following a retired officer’s claim that abuse allegations against the former Conservative prime minister were covered up in the 1990s. At least seven people have made allegations of abuse against Heath, including one claim tat he abused a boy on his yacht before throwing him overboard."

And if he had been blackmailed to take Britain into the European Common Market ?  [Now called the European Union]

Monday, 22 February 2016

Police Scotland have opened new investigation into abuse at Queen Victoria School

"POLICE have launched a new investigation into the shocking claims that a VIP paedophile ring operated at a top military boarding school."

"The probe represents a major development in a 25 year campaign for justice by a retired teacher who risked his career to expose the alleged abuse."

"Glenn Harrison was a housemaster at Queen Victoria School in Dunblane when he began to suspect that pupils were being preyed upon."

"He claims that boys were often taken away for unofficial overnight trips with dignitaries, while sexual abuse and bullying in the dormitories was ignored."

"Some youngsters appeared badly traumatised, yet when he tried to speak to them or discuss his fears with fellow teachers he was told that certain aspects of school life must remain `secret`."

"In December 1991, he made a report to the old Central Scotland Police and officers responded by breaking down the door to his flat and seizing his journal, computer files and other paperwork."

"Mr Harrison, who had already handed in his notice at the school, was then escorted from the school premises and interviewed by detectives."

"He moved to the Shetlands and resumed his career as a teacher, although he continued to campaign for a proper investigation into his allegations."

"After police concluded there was `no cause for further action on their part`, the only inquiry was carried out by the old Scottish Schools Inspectorate."

"Last year, details of the case were passed to the Scottish Government's historic child abuse inquiry and Mr Harrison made another official statement to police in Lerwick."

"He has also been pursuing a complaint with the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC), which concluded in December that officers could have done more to look into his allegations."

"Now, in a move which has delighted Mr Harrison and his supporters, the single force confirmed that detectives have opened a new investigation into claims of abuse at Queen Victoria School..."

Last night, a spokeswoman for the Army in Scotland said: "We will give police every assistance in this investigation that we possibly can."

Secret assessments

by Mel Kelly 11/02/16

SNP Scotland : Sex Offender State Guardian & Secret State Psychiatric Assessment of All Children.

"In 2014 the Scottish Parliament used the Scottish referendum to distract the nation while voting through the ‘Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill’ where MSPs created a new un-natural order which states every parent in Scotland is automatically deemed a risk to their own children and that the ‘state’ will select who is fit to be the Guardian of each child in Scotland between birth and the age of 18."

"I wrote an article for Open Democracy in January 2014 warning of this attempt to roll out a State Guardian system for every child across Scotland especially as the state will hold a central file on every family from the first child is born until the youngest child is 18 if you have your children six years apart that’s 24 years your family is to be monitored by the state with no right of appeal.
Convicted paedophiles in Scotland have more rights as they can appeal being monitored and even if they lose they have the human right to force the state to stop monitoring them after 15 years at most."

"The State Guardian system is just at the trial stage in Scotland and within 14 months of the first ‘named person’ being appointed, as the official Scottish State ‘guardian’ of 200 children, ‘teacher’ Dickson-Boath was caught and convicted of sharing her fantasies about abusing children. As a result the Scottish Government’s first official ‘state guardian’ has been placed on the Sex Offenders register and struck off from the teaching register with Scotland’s teaching watchdog also recommending that Dickson-Boath be placed on a list of persons deemed unfit to work with children in any capacity."

"For 14 months, her ‘named person’ position gave her legal power to get any of these 200 children on their own, totally unsupervised and also allowed her to sit in judgement of every parent of each of those children on behalf of the ‘state’ the same state that is itself under inquiry for abusing children."

"Despite the entire system being totally discredited, at this early trial stage, the Scottish Parliament decided to roll out the state named person system into every single school in Scotland, regardless, and is forcing all schools to implement their state GIRFEC (getting it right for every child) ‘resilience matrix’ model. One teacher, who prefers to remain anonymous, has revealed, recently a team came into the school to instruct teachers on this new Scottish Government GIRFEC system that has already got it all badly wrong for 200 children. The teachers were told they are now required to get children in primary and secondary schools to fill in GIRFEC questionnaires without the children understanding why and the children not being informed their ‘answers’ are to be sent to psychiatrists to allow them to create a ‘secret state’ psychiatric profile for every child in every school in Scotland. The teacher went on to explain the ‘presentation team’ were asked if parents would see a copy of the questionnaire and if they would be given the chance to withdraw their child."

"In response the presentation team said `a letter would be sent home telling parents the school would be working on ‘resilience’ but no mention of the questionnaire or option to withdraw would be given in the letter`. The reason given was to ensure teachers were able to use the secret ‘psychiatric profile’, of each child to ‘diagnose’ children for the new GIRFEC ‘bounce back’ `teaching` materials."

"Quite rightly, some teachers have refused to issue the questionnaires and already, senior pupils are refusing to fill in the ‘questionnaires’ and challenging why they are being asked to do so younger secondary pupils and primary children lack that maturity to question. To make it easier to roll out this system, SNP’s former Education Minister MSP Mike Russell, announced last week his desire to roll out David Cameron’s flagship policy to take all schools out of democratic control with SNP controlled Clackmannanshire Council announcing five days later they intend to take all their schools out of council control without an act of parliament which Chick Broadie MSP on the Scottish Education committee, was forced to admit is illegal as only an act of the Scottish Parliament can take any school out of council control. So by any means possible, legal or not, the SNP Government and councillors are seeking to place all Scotland’s children and parents at the mercy of schools no longer in democratic control and instead in the total control of their `Named Persons`, who will be answerable to no-one, in their new all-powerful state guardian position where they get to sit in judgement of every single parent (and grandparent) of every single child that attends their school and get secret psychiatric profiles carried out on the children in their ‘care’. "

"Here are the questions from just one of the official GIRFEC questionnaires to be used for secret psychiatric profiling of all Scotland’s children in this ‘new order’ - we must remember most questionnaires, whether it is from snake oil salesmen or governments are more often than not deliberately designed with leading questions to get the desired ‘result’. "

I try to be nice to other people. I care about their feelings
I am restless, I cannot stay still for long
I get a lot of headaches, stomach-aches or sickness
I usually share with others (food, games, pens etc.)
I get very angry and often lose my temper
I am usually on my own. I generally play alone or keep to myself
I usually do as I am told
I worry a lot
I am helpful if someone is hurt, upset or feeling ill
I am constantly fidgeting or squirming
I have one good friend or more
I fight a lot. I can make other people do what I want
I am often unhappy, down-hearted or tearful
Other people my age generally like me
I am easily distracted, I find it difficult to concentrate
I am nervous in new situations. I easily lose confidence
I am kind to younger children
I am often accused of lying or cheating
Other children or young people pick on me or bully me

I often volunteer to help others (parents, teachers, children) I think before I do things
I take things that are not mine from home, school or elsewhere
I get on better with adults than with people my own age
I have many fears, I am easily scared
I finish the work I'm doing. My attention is good □ □

"When a government declares (in law) every parent in Scotland is unfit to be guardian of their own children that is a government that desperately needs something to back up this outrageous policy secret questionnaires and illegal psychiatric profiling of children is the Scottish Parliament’s official chosen tactic. The MSPs in the Scottish Parliament claimed the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill is: `A Bill to make provision about the rights of children and young people.` A more fitting description would be this bill is a `Paedophile & State Abuse Charter` as it takes away every child’s natural birthright to have their parents as their rightful guardians and presents perverts and highly devious paedophiles with the opportunity to seek to be the legal state guardian of hundreds of children with the power to use ‘education funds’ they now control, in schools outwith democratic control, to get secret psychiatric profiles carried out on every child in their new state guardian legal ‘care’ to best assess which children are the easiest targets to fulfil their fantasies as they use that ‘state power’ to legally be able to get any child they desire on their own."

"For career politician MSPs with no children of their own to strip every parent in Scotland of their natural birthright to be the guardians of their own children only for these same MSPs to set up a system where paedophiles can easily be appointed as their chosen state guardian for hundreds of families’ children this shows how these MSPs have no idea what the natural instinct of a parent is to protect the children they love..."

"The minute the Scottish Parliament’s first state guardian, at the trial stage of this system, was found to be sharing fantasies of abusing children, this so called ‘Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill’ should have been repealed but as the Scottish Government chose to ignore that and press ahead rolling this danger to all children across Scotland it is evident every single MSP involved should be forced to resign and it is they who should be psychiatrically profiled. We need a public inquiry set up right now to allow Scotland to question every single MSP and Political party involved with their actions so devious a good case could be put to disbar all the parties and sitting MSPs involved from being able to stand at the Scottish elections not only in May, but ever again, so serious are the charges." 

See also

* I`m probably nit picking but I think it is more accurate to say that children are being psychologically assessed, not psychiatrically assessed.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Child Rescue Alert

"Stephen Fry leads campaign to make every second count when a child is reported missing."
"Stephen Fry is urging members of the public to help save the lives of high risk missing children as part of a two-week long national campaign launching today. People are asked to register for free Child Rescue Alerts, activated when a child has gone missing and police believe their life is in imminent danger."

There`s something not right about this:

See Lou Collins` blog:

`Stephen Fry Leads Missing Children Campaign helped by Bob Geldof  `

March against Barnevernet

300 people marched yesterday on a rainy day in Oslo protesting their draconian child protection system, Barnevernet. A...
Posted by Suranya Aiyar on Saturday, February 20, 2016

See also

Teacher escapes to Oxfordshire school

A teacher found guilty of sexual offences at a top private school in Edinburgh is still working in classrooms with children at another private school - this time in England.

Gordon Cruden, who taught at the exclusive Merchiston Castle, exposed himself in front of teenage boys at the school but escaped any punishment in December after a trial despite being found guilty.

He was given an absolute discharge by the sheriff and continues to work as a French teacher at Bloxham school in North Oxfordshire.

School Grounds | Merchiston Castle School

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Improving Permanence

Who Cares ? 

Looked after children are children looked after by their local authority. They may be living with foster parents, at home under a supervision order, in a residential home or secure unit.

Many children in the care system are moved frequently between these various living arrangements and so in recent times there has been an effort to prevent children drifting in local authority care.

Toward this end, CELCIS, the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland, has made "achieving permanence one of the central planks of its philosophy". Achieving permanence for a looked after child could mean a `permanence order`, adoption, the end of a supervision order or a return home.  At that point the local authority is free to walk away. It is as well to remember that.

The Scottish Government commissioned CELCIS to deliver a "transformational permanence improvement programme". Not all children can be adopted so really there was a drive to achieve other types of permanent placements. According to CELCIS the main cause of delay in achieving permanence for looked after children was the formal systems and decision-making processes. There were consultations with social care, local authority legal advisors and legal professionals in Hearings and Courts in order to improve communication and understanding about the importance of permanence.
"In addition, PaCT, together with partners in Scottish Government and BAAF [British Association of Adoption and Fostering], reviewed legal issues related to permanence and discussed with the Government whether changes to court rules and processes could speed up permanence. "
"Similarly, written and oral evidence was given to the Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee to inform the Inquiry into decision-making on taking children into care." 
At one time removing children permanently from their parents was considered to be a last resort. The ethos of the Children`s Hearing system was to support children so that they could remain safely within their families. The transformation that the Scottish Government asked for turns that idea on its head.

One of the theories which can be used to justify breaking the bonds between children and their parents, in order to pursue a permanent arrangement in another placement, is attachment theory. This theory, which is not uncontested, suggests that for some children there never was a strong attachment in the first place.

To bring forward the transformation in permanency provision, learning and development sessions about attachment were delivered to local authority staff, NHS staff, Children’s Hearings Scotland, voluntary agencies, legal professionals and policy makers. This included current learning on child development, brain development and issues around contact.

It should be noted that if attachment theory is flawed - which I believe it is - then every decision made with that as its premise will be a flawed decision.

But according to CELCIS: "The impact of this work has been to change practice, improve children`s experiences and increase knowledge and confidence, as well as raising awareness and changing attitudes." This work certainly has all parts of the system collaborating to change their practice and attitudes but whether that actually improves children`s experiences is another matter. For one thing, children`s contact with their parents can be seen as getting in the way of permanence. The drive is to reduce contact or cut it out altogether so that children are forced to attach to their new carers. As a senior manager reflects:
The Panel made direct reference to the [CELCIS attachment] training. The Social worker thought that she might have a job to convince Panel Members, but they set contact themselves. The parents saw Panel Members and Social Workers thinking in the same way, which reinforced for the parents that it was the right decision.
 I do not believe that for one moment. Parents are more likely to perceive the system as being loaded against them, which it is, and it has just got worse.
...the Locality Reporter Manager came back and said that they made a decision to stop contact because they’d thought about that question [put forward in the learning and development session], ‘why are we having contact? Where is the, you know, in what way is this contact supporting the child’s emotional welfare, development and self-esteem?’ And they couldn’t answer that it was. So they terminated the contact (PaCT consultant).
 Notice, it is not the child or the family who decides to terminate contact. It is the establishment who has grown in confidence due to attachment training.

CELCIS adopted the Plan/Do/Study/Act model for service improvement which actually produces a `one size fits all` strategy to speed up permanence for all children going through the care system. For that reason alone, it will fail many children.

The few cases that I know about have never produced anything other than trauma for children. I am sure there are success stories but I not aware of them.

Two families had their children removed and placed in alternative care. At each hearing social workers produced glowing reports that the children were `thriving` in their placement and it would be disruptive for the children to have them return home. Panel members who make the decisions find it difficult to question the authority of social workers but the reports were false.

This all came out after more than three years when it was no longer possible to hide the fact that each placement was failing the children. At that point the children were returned home where they always wanted to be. The children, who have been changed by their experiences, are beginning the journey to recovery with their parents.

When permanency is processed more speedily so that it takes place in 6 months, say, situations like those above could remain hidden forever because permanency takes away parental rights. Parents will then have no more contact or knowledge about their children and no means to contest decisions at a hearing. (Similar to adoption)

Although it was an uphill struggle, fortunately for those families who regained their children they were dealing with the system before it transformed itself.

Are too many children receiving ritalin?

"According to The New York Times:
“[A recent] study enrolled 146 children with an A.D.H.D. diagnosis from ages 5 to 12 and randomly assigned half on a low dose of generic Ritalin. The other half received no medication, but their parents began attending group meetings to learn behavior-modification techniques.
Behavior modification for A.D.H.D. is based on a fairly simple system of rewards and consequences. Parents reward the good or cooperative acts they see; subtle things, like paying attention for a few moments, can earn a pat on the back or a ‘good boy.’ Completing homework without complaint might earn time on a smartphone. Parents withhold privileges, like playtime or video games, or enforce a ‘time out’ in response to defiance and other misbehavior.”
"The results? Children who had behavior therapy from their parents `had an average of four fewer rules violations an hour at school than the medication-first group`."
"After a few months, the study decided to see if more medication would be beneficial to children in both groups. Fully one-third of the children who had behavioral therapy did not need medication at all! Those who did need to add medication to their behavior modification regimen still saw better results than the children who had never been given behavioral therapy."

Friday, 19 February 2016

Ex-head of PIE has been suspended from Labour party

Thomas O`Carroll
"Tom O'Carroll, ex-head of Paedophile Information Exchange which campaigned to lower the age of sexual consent to 10, has been suspended by Labour."

"The Times reported that Mr O'Carroll joined the party in Barrow-in-Furness after Jeremy Corbyn became leader."

"The constituency MP, John Woodcock, and deputy leader Tom Watson were among those to say he was not welcome."

"A Labour spokesman said: `Tom O'Carroll has been suspended from the Labour Party`."

Mr Woodcock had tweeted on Tuesday that he was "dismayed" Mr O'Carroll had joined the party, and said he had written to Labour's general secretary, Iian McNicol to ask for him to be banned for life.

Surveillance is being normalised in schools

"School lunch lines in the UK can be fraught: students receiving free lunches may not want their peers to know, lost payment cards mean some go without, and code-based payments leave children at risk of `shoulder surfing`, where others spot their number and use it to buy their own meal."

"Fingerprint scanners are being presented as one solution for doing away with this stress. They can be linked to online payments, making busy lunchtimes easier and faster, plus it will save schools from printing ID cards."

"A typical secondary school in the UK can end up producing more than 400 new payment cards every year to account for lost, damaged and new intake ones, says Nigel Walker, managing director of biometrics company BioStore. `Biometrics can’t be lost or forgotten, stolen or used by someone else. When students and staff identify themselves on the system, you can be sure it’s them. This improves a school’s safety in terms of access, security and accountability`."

"The Department for Education doesn’t track how many schools use biometric systems, but in 2014, campaigning group Big Brother Watch estimated that more than a million secondary schoolchildren had handed over their fingerprints."

"In these hi-tech schools, biometrics in particular fingerprints but also palm prints can be used for entering and exiting the main school building as well as classrooms and buses, taking attendance, and accessing lockers, computers, library books and printers. Add in other new technologies such as wearables, and civil rights campaigners fear the result is that surveillance is quietly being normalised in children from a young age."

"The Protections of Freedoms Act 2012 states that schoolchildren cannot have their fingerprints taken without written parental consent. Until then even the youngest of students may have had their biometric data captured. `There is no need to retrospectively gain this consent so many children are having their data processed without their, or their parents’, consent," says Emmeline Taylor, author of Surveillance Schools.`..."

"`As some schools introduce tracking devices to supposedly increase efficiencies, safeguard students and respond to issues such as truancy and obesity, other schools quickly follow suit through fear of otherwise being regarded as negligent of their responsibilities," says Taylor. "The only beneficiaries are the companies selling the equipment. Once these systems are viewed as necessary, then any cost, whether financial or social, becomes worth the trade. It is an ingenious strategy to turn limited public funds into private profits`."