While some are still sharpening their coloured pencils in readiness for firing off strangely worded demands for information from local authorities, I have been speaking to the people involved with home education at Oldham. The suggestion has been made that home educated children in this area are being forced to have their children wieghed and their height measured every six months in order to ensure that they are not being starved to death. This move was supposedly in response to the death of Khyra Ishaq in Birmingham.
Fortunately, I have a sister in Manchester who used to home educate her own son, as I have perhaps mentioned in the past. She knows one or two people and I am pretty sharp at ferreting people out myself and so today I can report that this does not seem to be a cause for concern. The nurse doing the weighing and measuring is called Fran Lees and the woman who visits home educating families is Sue Casella. Nobody seems to have any complaints about them and, like the home education service in Ceridigon, they simply offer the services of the school nurse and so on. I have no idea at all anyway how anybody would force a parent to allow their child to be weighed. Is the suggestion that Sue Casella is dragging them into a car and then thrusting the child at the nurse and demanding, 'Weigh this one, Fran!'
It all seems very unlikely and until any further evidence emerges, I don't think that there is anything to be worried about. More details needed, including the testimony of parents whose children have actually been subjected to this treatment. It is certainly the case that Sue Casella has advised people that it is wise to have their child's health checked regularly in some cases and she has made appointments for them to see the nurse, but I have no reason to suppose this was done against anybody's wishes.