Friday, 15 October 2010

More about weighing and measuring

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.


  1. I can't say about other areas. Cardigan, how ever do, due to my husbands involvement with a family under Cardigans LEA. They offer the 'SERVICE' and that the word it's a service, how ever as with all authorities it come's down to how they word thing and what your led to believe. Your led to believe it compulsory by LEA, as you say, few calls and why's and you can soon write this service off.

  2. 'Your led to believe it compulsory by LEA, '
    This is very interesting, Amy. I don't suppose you could tell us exactly what the local authority say to parents which lead them to suppose that this is compulsory, rather than a service being offered? I ask because some people are claiming that visits to the school nurse are being pressed upon people. It would be good to have the actual words used.

  3. My apologies, just checked seems its not Stuart or Tanya that insist, although they do a referral. When eventually the school nurse calls she uses the words ' a compulsory service ' now to me that would set alarm bells ringing as the two contradict each other. Again quick phone calls and talk with stuart confirms the nurse in question has been advised to reframe from any sentence that contains the word compulsory as it makes his job rather tiresome when the phone rings continuously with irate Home edders that only have half a story. As for health check in Cardigan scare on chat rooms, if its the family I know off there are other agency's involved so different rules apply to them. Stuart and Tanya confirmed its one of the many service they try to offer family's that home educate so that there's no discrimination between School and home children.

  4. Thanks very much indeed for that Amy. I hope that it sets people's minds at rest. Many people feel that it is unfair that home educated children cannot access health services as readily as those at school and it is a pity that when an authority tries to sort this out, they end up being criticised for it! Thanks.

  5. I agree, no matter what the authority do, they'll always be wrong in the home education world. Cardigan offer some wonderful service, even allowing children to attend vocational course at collage from 14, for those who wish the help.
    Just thought you might like to know if you already don't. A similar thing is happening in Camarthen, Anne Harrison a behavior services manager and Sian Robinson also from the Elective home education office. They are fishing for information from family's about who you have help ie tutors etc quick phone call reveals your not legally obliged to fill in or return the form ... but again people are up in arms about putting them right etc. I will make more inquires as to what its about as id rather have it direct from the horse mouth than 10th hand information from chat rooms.

  6. You know Amy, any information you could put on here would be very helpful. There are so many mad rumours floating about on some of the lists and some people seem so ready to believe anything. The more solid facts that can be publicised, the better!