Lesley and I took the decision to home educate our Daughter after the state system failed her in every way - she was being bullied at the age of three and beyond into reception, whilst at reception she was forced to do PE (in her knickers because we'd forgotten her gym shorts) in the dining hall when there was left-over food on the floor carpet. She was left to sit in the 'reading area' with dirty cushions and even dirtier books, she was stuck in a classroom with no daylight because the windows had been replaced with 'vandal-proof' perspex which had yellowed with age and become opaque with scratches and graffiti, we were forced to stand with parents who turned up in their pyjama's and slippers, who smoked in the playground and spat and cursed as they waited for children they should have never had (and wouldn't have had if the benefit system didn't pay for them.) I could go on (and on) but I think you get my point.
And now the education minister has commissioned a Mr Graham Badman (apt name) to come up with a report (Read some of it here) which basically gives the local authority the power to enter my home to assess me, my wife, the home and worst of all 'question' (interrogate) my daughter ALONE - without her parents present, and all because someone thinks that if the state isn't educating her she has to be being abused in some way. If I don't allow them access I will be comitting a criminal offence and could have my child removed to a 'safe house' indefinately.
We found out yesterday that the government plans to set up another 'child protection agency' - the ISA (Independent Safeguarding Authority) which will quite simply criminalise anyone who cares for a child without being 'investigated and assessed' for suitability by the new agency. So if, as we do, you place your child into the care of another (family members included - so grandmothers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles beware!) for any length of time they will have to be put to scrutiny by this 'independent' government agency and face a fine of up to £5000 if they do not agree to it. I'm all for safeguarding children - after all this is why I took her out of the state system - but this is an overreaction to a couple of doubtless very serious cases of child abuse (Baby P, Holly & Jessica et al) where you will find that it was the state, or state run regulatory bodies which failed the child/children in the first place.
Nanny State getting out of control and getting away with it - Matthew Parris' take in the Times puts it all into perspective - VIEW HERE. Here's a snippet:-
"The ISA scheme and its enabling legislation were a response to the Soham murders. Those murders would almost certainly never have happened were it not for the incompetence of the police, social services and education authorities. The result is that in consequence of the failure of three state authorities, a fourth state authority has been set up. "
I've never understood all the fuss around games and gaming. I never really 'got' Space Invaders'-style arcade games in the eighties. The most challenging computerised game I ever played was Atari Tennis in the late 1970's!
Last Saturday Lesley came home with a Nintendo DS console and the game "Professor Layton and the Curious Village". By Wednesday afternoon I'd completed 100 of the 120 puzzles in the game and solved the mystery of 'the golden apple' (there are actually 135 puzzles hidden in the game, but 15 are 'bonus' ones and quite difficult to find.)
Realising my growing fascination with the device, I ordered Dr Kawashima's Brain Training - the one Jamie and Harry Rednapp and Julie Walters and Captain Picard advertise! It arrived on Wednesday (just in time!) The game gives you various puzzles in an attempt to determine the 'age' of your brain. I won't tell you what age my brain was on my first attempt (72) but I've managed to get it down to 46 by constant use and wearing down the console battery four times!!!
I can't say I'm going to rush out and buy a Playstation or Wii but now I can finally see how addictive they are - plus Emily can use it to improve her maths (if I let her!)
I'm afraid Lesley hasn't had a look in! We may have to invest in a second one!
"…Watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who do not believe in magic will never find it." (The last published words of Roald Dahl.)