Carlotta has a string of posts on the recent, nasty abuse of three children by their foster-mother, Eunice Spry.
Rather than admit to its own failings in not adequately investigating (several) allegations, Gloucestershire County Council is attempting to spin the story against all those who home educate their children by arguing that families need much closer monitoring.
Eunice Spry home educated, and was visited at home twice a year to have her education provision monitored. Nobody picked up on the abuse. So what more is Gloucestershire suggesting? That all home educating families require a full-blown social services investigation?
A quick search on BBC News reveals that in the UK during the past year, 15 teachers have been jailed for sexual abuse of pupils, and a further 10 for child pornography offences. That’s just the cases that made it on to BBC News. It’s also worth mentioning that we had reason to do a similar, monthly survey over a period of a year on all professionals working with children. We found that child abuse and pornography convictions averaged around a dozen per month. Should we therefore treat all teachers with suspicion, or insist that anyone entering the profession has in-depth vetting beyond the CRB check?
Certainly not. As a police officer commented last month on the case of a teacher currently awaiting sentence on 10 counts of abuse on pupils:
“It is extremely rare for a teacher to be at the centre of such accusations and Mr Shotton’s conviction should not be allowed to reflect on the profession as a whole.”
Perhaps the same courtesy could be extended to home educators, rather than isolated cases of abuse being used to justify a repugnant message that parents are little more than abusers awaiting an opportunity.