Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Are you home educating, privately fostering, disabled, according to the Metropolitan Police Service these are potentially vulnerable situations and they will be on alert for signs of abuse!

The absence of a child from a conventional school environment where staff are routinely trained in safeguarding responsibilities can in some circumstances lead to that child being in a more vulnerable situation and at a higher risk of neglect or abuse.

Oh really, evidence please.  Have they been nobbled by the NSPCC maybe?

Guess what, they don't have any, they are going on a few high profile cases in the media, which as we know were exploited for political purposes and nothing to do with home education.  Oh and lets lump in disability and private fostering too, everybody knows children in these situations sometimes are victims of abuse don't they.  Unlike children in schools and state care, so safe they are.

As Ali says So no Equalities Impact Assessment, no proper definitions, no evidence base, no justification = prejudice. 

Nice to know our police force are so ethical. Not!

Freedom of Information Request re Metropolitan Police Child Risk Assessment Matrix.

Update from Alison at Home Education Forums. 

What Grit has to say.


Simon Webb said...

Here is a perfect example of how the school environment can provide one layer of safeguarding for children. In this case:


the mother bit her child and the bite marks were spotted at school. Had the child been educated at home, it is unlikely that the bites would have been seen and reported.

Anonymous said...

well the mother could have done the same at the start of the summer holidays and nobody would have seen it. Do we now have to have daily inspections?
Or the child could be in a boarding school and a teacher could have done it, and had they been seen at home every day then the parent would have been able to notice!

Maire said...

This is a very sad case, and I am sure the children would rather risk another bite than have their only parent disappear. A foolish arrogant state at work again!

Anonymous said...

Simon Webb has just engaged in a classic logical fallacy, 'Misleading Vividness:


Misleading Vividness is a fallacy in which a very small number of particularly dramatic events are taken to outweigh a significant amount of statistical evidence. This sort of "reasoning" has the following form:

Dramatic or vivid event X occurs (and is not in accord with the majority of the statistical evidence) .
Therefore events of type X are likely to occur.

This sort of "reasoning" is fallacious because the mere fact that an event is particularly vivid or dramatic does not make the event more likely to occur, especially in the face of significant statistical evidence.

People often accept this sort of "reasoning" because particularly vivid or dramatic cases tend to make a very strong impression on the human mind. For example, if a person survives a particularly awful plane crash, he might be inclined to believe that air travel is more dangerous than other forms of travel. After all, explosions and people dying around him will have a more significant impact on his mind than will the rather dull statistics that a person is more likely to be struck by lightning than killed in a plane crash.

It should be kept in mind that taking into account the possibility of something dramatic or vivid occuring is not always fallacious. For example, a person might decide to never go sky diving because the effects of an accident can be very, very dramatic. If he knows that, statistically, the chances of the accident are happening are very low but he considers even a small risk to be unnaceptable, then he would not be making an error in reasoning.

Example of Misleading Vividness; Jane and Sarah are talking about running in a nearby park:

Jane: "Did you hear about that woman who was attacked in Tuttle Park?"

Sarah: "Yes. It was terrible."

Jane: "Don't you run there everyday?"

Sarah: "Yes."

Jane: "How can you do that? I'd never be able to run there!"

Sarah: "Well, as callous as this might sound, that attack was out of the ordinary. I've been running there for three years and this has been the only attack. Sure, I worry about being attacked, but I'm not going give up my running just because there is some slight chance I'll be attacked."

Jane: "That is stupid! I'd stay away from that park if I was you! That woman was really beat up badly so you know it is going to happen again. If you don't stay out of that park, it will probably happen to you!"

Simon Webb said...

'Misleading Vividness is a fallacy in which a very small number of particularly dramatic events are taken to outweigh a significant amount of statistical evidence. This sort of "reasoning" has the following form:'

To apply this to what I said, you would need to demonstrate that it was uncommon for schools to act in this way in a safeguarding capacity. In other words, you must show that this is in fact an isolated case and not typical of the sort of thing which happens in schools.

Simon Webb said...

It is quite common for schools to spot those children who are being neglected and at risk of abuse. Normally this is not particularly dramatic. It might be a child who wears thin and inadequate clothing in the winter, who is abnormally thin, smells bad or as in the case which I cited above has bruises and marks. Teachers see children when they change for PE and so get more of a chance than a person in the street to notice such things. Referrals to social services as a result of these observations are pretty roputine. I am surprised that anybody should think that the Cheltenham case was an isolated or atypical example.

Anybody wanting to know more about the rationale behind the CRAM document could do as I did and speak to Inspector Tony Field who actually wrote the thing. He is currently based in Haringey.

Bruce Stafford said...

Simon, how frequent is 'quite common', and what is your evidence base? The implication is that you know both the 'true' population figure for abuse for those attending school and the proportion of those subsequently identified by school teachers. I find this difficult to believe!

At a more persoanl level, my recollection of PE changing rooms is that the teacher disappeared into his own room whilst we be changed leaving the classroom bully to pick on his victims.

Simon Webb said...

'Simon, how frequent is 'quite common', and what is your evidence base? The implication is that you know both the 'true' population figure for abuse for those attending school and the proportion of those subsequently identified by school teachers.'

I have no idea how much abuse is averted in this way and neither does anybody else. The tone of the original post was that school does not fulfil a safeguarding role and I wished to point out that it did. A subsequent comment suggested that such incidents of a child's abuse being noticed were very rare. I was pointing out that they were not at all rare. Most teachers will have anecdotes about children whom they were concerned about and notified somebody of their concerns. Conversation in staff rooms not infrequently turns to comparing notes about particular children and deciding whether an appropriate word should be dropped to social services. I cannot quantify this; it is simply part of the background in schools.

Maire said...

I must say that apart from having four children go through the school system and spending much of my childhood from the age of 18 months in staff rooms I was only going on my intuition, however google always helps.


School professionals contribute most reports to child protection agencies (16.5% of reports in an 2006 US study), but are also responsible for failing to report most cases."


"Teachers indicated that many of them were unable to recognize signs of child abuse and were confused about reporting procedures. In addition, some were consciously choosing not to report because they did not think that child welfare agencies would provide any effective relief for the child."


I must say were I a teacher I would hesitate to report all but the most serious abuse as the cure seems often more abusive than the original incident.

Maire said...


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