FMP INVISIBILITY The safeguarding Myth

FMP – INVISIBILITY – The safeguarding Myth

I was recently invited to help form a Home-Ed alliance with a number of other individuals, all of whom were bringing their own area of expertise to the group, which consists of lawyers, paralegals, academics, individuals who were home educated as children, and members who petitioned to stop the redefining of the Department of Education’s guidance for Home educating families as it stands in the 1996 education act, by the Badman and Lord Soley members bills.

Our main area of concentration is to try to make the voices of the Home Educated heard in the current call for evidence that the education select committee is currently holding.

Their first oral sessions was held on Tuesday 24th November 2020 , and is available here – 

Education commmittee meeting Home Education Parliament TV 

attended by –

Witness(es): Jenny Coles, President, Association of Directors of Children’s Services; Cllr Lucy Nethsingha, Deputy Chair of Children and Young People Board, Local Government Association; Mrunal Sisodia, Co-Chair, National Network of Parent Carer Forums; Jane Lowe, Trustee, Home Education Advisory Service

After watching the live session, and tweeting throughout the live streaming to the home ed community, I have been going through the transcript , highlighting any issues that come up , things that are presented as fact that are opinion, the chair leading questions, incorrect information, things that are being advised , that there is already laws to cover. So we can address them all separately as a group. In the mean time , I plan on holding some of the quotes for possible inclusion in my work in the form of screen prints. Most notably as addressed in a letter to Mr Robert Halfon chair of the education select committee from one of our groups members (referenced below and adapted from his letter for privacy and being succint), in reference to the continuation of the media and government bodies citing home educated children who have died  –

Jordan Burling. (cited as an example of home education being used as a cover for abuse and neglect in the oral sessions).

The judge reviewing Jordan’s case said –

“This was not a case where home education was used to hide somebody away. The family had an outreach worker in place.” Can you please stop using him as an example as it is disrespectful to his memory? “On the evidence before the court I can only conclude that in all probability, had there been an adequate initial assessment and proper adherence by the educational welfare services to its guidance, Khyra would not have died”. Dylan Seabridge A report was made to social services by his headteacher, before being withdrawn from school. Dylan’s mother had mental health issues and therefore, the local authority had full powers to enter the property to check on his wellbeing. Victoria Climbie The NSPCC was forced to make a public apology to her family for falsely stating that she was home educated. “I would like to apologise for the offence this has caused. Clearly there is no connection between home education and Victoria’s tragic death as she was not being educated at home.” (NSPCC Director of Public Policy). There has never been a single case where home education was a determining factor in the death of a child. Where a child has died that has been home educated, the determining factor has been the failure by the local authority to exercise the powers it already holds. ****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************The government and media regularly reference ‘invisible’ children when referring to home educated children. However, these children are not invisible. They are seen sometimes hundreds of times a week by individuals, family, friends, professionals, all have the power to make social services referrals, if there is cause for concern. I am setting out to see IF the myth of ‘invisibility’ can be proven as inaccurate. I have invited members of home educating groups to take part in a mass community photography project , the post on facebook for which is below –
FMP - INVISIBILITY - The safeguarding Myth
FIG 1, FMP – INVISIBILITY – The safeguarding Myth

Graham, 2020. Facebook ‘invisibility post’

**************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************** Below is the annotated transcripts of the Oral sessions linked above. Transcript supplied  https://committees.parliament.uk/event/2849/formal-meeting-oral-evidence-session/
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This blog is written as part of my studies on the Falmouth University photography ma, an accredited educational programme.