Friday, 27 February 2009


Isn’t it sad that institutions seem to gain a life of their own and the individuals staffing these organisations (especially in the higher echelons) somehow come to see the survival and aggrandisement of the organisation as more important than the people that it was set up to serve or the people who work in it.

I have repeatedly seen this in schools. My own school, a catholic grammar school was quite transparent about it. Lectures were given in morning assembly about how we pupils were representatives of the school when in the outside community and therefore it was important that we behaved well and most especially wore our hats in order not to bring the school into disrepute. Our own moral development as responsible conscientious citizens and even good Catholics was definitely very secondary to that.

Well No actually I did not then and do not now care about the well being of institutions if that is at the expense of the interests and well being of the individuals they are meant to serve.

I experienced this attitude repeatedly during my children’s primary education. The head teacher of the school they attended and the school I eventually withdrew my youngest from addressed me very patronisingly when towards the end I managed to get my distressed and distraught daughter (more shame me) to the school gates late.

‘Mrs Stafford this will not do’,

(she was policing the gate to shame latecomers).

I am sure you can all imagine it, hear a voice designed to make you feel four years old, three feet high and thoroughly disrespected.

I explained the stress my daughter was feeling, the trouble she was having coping with school. Did I get concerned questions, and a promise to help sort the problem out. No of course I didn’t. I got a demand to consider the needs of the organisation and ignore and override my daughter’s distress for the benefit of said organisation.

‘But what about all the other children Mrs Stafford, they cannot be made to wait for the benefit of your daughter’.

Well actually they can, at least until appropriate modifications have been put in place. Did I say this, of course not, I was too gobsmacked at her sheer impudence, though not surprised.

The thing is there are no otherchildren just individual children who could all have neglect of their needs and difficulties justified and dismissed as unimportant when compared to the good of the imaginary otherchildren, for which you may read, the convenience of the school.

The NSPCC is no different, in order to extend its remit, possibly to get more money from the government or at least keep what it has, it’s policy adviser Mr Vijay Patel is shamelessly spreading false rumour in support of the government’s spurious review into the possibility of home education being a hot bed of child abuse.

Be clear, this man has on national radio admitted that there is absolutely no evidence for his claims. But still he continues to slur home educators trying in the Independant yesterday to associate them with the sorry case of Victoria Climbie, a child who was actually badly let down by (amongst many others) the LEA who refused her a school place and by the NSPCC who decided no further action was needed in her case as they had a party to organise.

The Victoria Climbie Foundation have refuted this claim.

It makes me very sad and very angry.

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