Friday, 30 September 2016

The UN`s collective plan for the future

The United Nations is still pushing towards one world governance with particular emphasis on the role of education:

"The [Sustainable Development Goals] SDGs are our collective plan for the future of the world’s people and its planet. There is no other plan. And there’s no spare planet.” David Nabarro, Special Adviser on the 2030 Agenda said last week..."

"Millions of people need to be equipped for a completely different labour market,” confirmed the UN Special Envoy for Global Education Opportunity, Gordon Brown. “Without education we cannot hope to become global citizens who embrace others, no matter how different they are from us..."

"The Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report) will continue to be an editorially independent, authoritative, and evidence-based annual report published by UNESCO. It will monitor progress towards education targets in the new Sustainable Development Goals framework."

What`s happening with the NHS ?

"On Tuesday, there will be an event at the Tory Party Conference which will be discussing the future of the NHS:"

"As can be seen by the flyer, the event is organised by a right-wing think tank called the Institute of Economic Affairs."

"Which is interesting. Because the IEA thinks the NHS should be abolished."


I agree with Finola Moss`s comment. The NHS has been sculpted from the inside out and only a shell remains. Before Thatcher there was a consensus view that the NHS was untouchable. Ever since then, it has been systematically dismantled while claims are made that nothing of the kind is happening. All political parties have taken part in the deception.  It`s a global agenda.

But it gets worse.

In Scotland there are eight wellbeing indicators at the heart of children`s education. Despite the Supreme Court`s judgment that these indicators cannot be defined in law, there seems to be no way of getting rid of them. Children are being assessed in their classrooms accordingly, sometimes quite covertly.

The government`s intention is that children who are failing to meet the wellbeing standards required of them, should be offered early interventions to bring them `back on track`.

The third sector is expected to play an important collaborative role in designing and implementing the early interventions, setting up nice little not-for-profits and businesses along the way. It`s not quite mental health; it`s not quite education; it`s a construct that has been developed as the first step towards privatising the management of children`s behaviour. And yes, there will be more opportunities for the pharmaceutical industry and more customers for the increasingly privatised care sector.

See more

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Barnardo`s will grow its enterprise on the back of child poverty

"Barnardo`s`has announced a ten-year strategy which will aim to grow income by a third and change its relationship with commissioners, in order to cope with a predicted 25 per cent increase in beneficiaries."

"The charity aims to grow its income to £400m in the next few years, and hopes to do so largely by doubling the amount of funds for charitable application from its shops chain and fundraising department. It expects to grow the number of vulnerable children it works with from 248,000 at present to over 300,000."

"In an interview with Civil Society News, Javed Khan, chief executive of Barnardo`s said the plans were a response to data which showed that child poverty was increasing... "

"To do this, the charity also has ambitious plans to change the way local authorities commission children’s services. Khan said he wants the charity to work more with public sector commissioners to help them design and commission services, rather than waiting for contracts to be advertised and then bidding for them."

"At the moment the local authority decides what service it wants to offer and ten organisations bid for it," he said. "One wins and the other nine have wasted their time and money. It’s wasteful."

"At the moment 78 per cent of the contracts we bid for, we win, so we don’t need to do this, but we want to help local government improve efficiencies and improve outcomes."

While the charity aims to grow its income to £400m in the next few years it expects to grow the number of vulnerable children it works with...

This is business speak at its worst.

We should also remember the official line of  Barnardo`s after the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal which was in essence: business partners first, children second.

Private fostering agencies offer cash incentives for more business

"Large private foster agencies are offering cash incentives to recruit foster carers working for English local authorities - and then charging more for the service, councils say. Some agencies pay `golden hellos` of around £3,000, but then charge councils more to care for the same child."

"The Association of Directors of Children's Services says the practice is immoral and should be banned..."

"A recent independent review of residential care by government adviser Sir Martin Narey said that in 2014-15, eight commercial fostering agencies made around £41m in profit... Not all agencies make money, some are charities or not for profit organisations."

"The president of ADCS, Dave Hill, said that companies should not be profiteering from children in care and objected very strongly to `golden hellos`.  Mr Hill said that it cost authorities thousands of pounds to assess and train foster carers - a cost that was wasted if the carer then transferred to an agency..."

Edward Timpson
"Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson said: "We are launching a national stocktake of fostering to better understand current provision - including looking at the role fostering agencies play."

"The revelation comes amid a shortage of foster carers."

[The revelation comes amid a shortage of foster carers, indeed. And record numbers of children are being placed in care. Now why would that be?  Maybe Corporate Watch is on to something.]

From Corporate Watch:
"In response to requests from foster carers concerned by the privatisation of their service, Corporate Watch has combed through company records and accounts to investigate who is behind the UK’s biggest foster care businesses, how much money they are making and where that money is going."
"We have found millions of pounds that could be reinvested in the care of children are instead leaving the system as bumper payouts to shareholders. Directors enjoy very generous pay packets, while some companies are siphoning profits out through tax havens in the Channel Islands and the Caribbean."
"Foster care has become a lucrative business. Whether it should be a business at all is another question."
Read more 

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Raising attainment with standardised assessments

According to Deputy First Minister John Swinney the government is set to work towards closing the attainment gap over the next ten years.

"So you`re working towards it over the next ten years," said the BBC presenter. "If you say this is the defining mission of Nicola Sturgeon`s government, that`s a very long time frame, isn`t it?"

In answer to this Mr Swinney said: "Well I don`t think we`ll sort these issues out overnight Garry..." Further questioning did not elicit anything more promising.

"Nicola Sturgeon talks about giving more power to schools. She`s already offering funds directly from central government. Are the days numbered for the role that local government plays in our schools?"

"No...Well what we`re intent on doing is making sure that more decisions are able to be taken in schools ..."

"So explain to us how you gauge the cash going directly to the head teachers as being well spent."

"Well there has to be accountability over all public expenditure that is undertaken. But if we have a cohort of teaching professionals who are leading education in every single classroom in our country; if we trust these teachers to undertake the education of our young people; then we must surely be able to trust them to take the right decisions about the way in which resources are used at local level to maximum effect in the classroom."

It is extraordinary that Mr Swinney did not taken on board the fact that the Named Person role has destroyed what trust there might have been. Data mining, a lack of openness about what is happening, falling standards and SHANARRI wellbeing wheels do not inspire confidence. Why give conspirators like that more power?
Explaining the need for assessments he said: "We will only be able to close the attainment gap if we have comparative information about the performance of young people and how we can intervene to address their particular needs."

There are too many wellbeing assessments and interventions already. But it is difficult to understand what additional interventions to raise attainment could possibly mean when there is already a shortage of teachers.


Senior lawyer suspended from child abuse inquiry

"The most senior lawyer working for the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse in England and Wales has been suspended from duty."
"The inquiry said it had `become very concerned about aspects` of Ben Emmerson QC's leadership of his team."

"Mr Emmerson said he was `unable` to comment at this time.
The inquiry said press suggestions Mr Emmerson was considering resigning after raising disagreements over its future direction were untrue."

"In a statement, it said: `They are not a matter on which he has advised the chair or panel`..."
"The inquiry was set up in 2014 to examine whether public bodies including the police have failed in their duty to protect children from sexual abuse. It will also examine claims of abuse involving `well-known people`.

"The Times had reported that Mr Emmerson had wanted to reduce the inquiry's workload, but its recently-appointed chairwoman, Professor Alexis Jay, and home secretary Amber Rudd both said its scope would not be changed."

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The vaccine debate

The Greatest Vaccine Debate on PBS: Shattering the Intoxication “Paradigm” from Revolution Television on Vimeo.

An invitation to the Queen

"A group of grandmothers in Lancashire have written an open letter to the Queen telling her their concerns about  fracking."

"And from 2pm [today] the nanas will be delivering the letter and having what they call Nana Tea outside Buckingham Palace. They assure they will be bringing their `best crockery` in case she `pops out`."

"Here’s the letter:"

*The Grandmother Elizabeth,

*Please note that we address you in this way, out of respect for what we consider to be your noblest role and highest obligation: to protect the young.

We recently contacted you about the plight of Lancashire residents who have used every democratic channel available to them in the fight to stop fracking coming to their communities. If you recall, our elected county councillors refused planning permission for two fracking sites in rural Fylde: Cuadrilla then appealed and the decision will now be made by the Secretary of State very soon. We appealed to you as our last democratic resource and asked you, ‘What would you do Ma’am?’.

Read more

Monday, 26 September 2016

Named Persons only take low level notes about children

Published on 26 June 2014

"On 22 June 2014 - The Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton Relay came to South Lanarkshire, relive the colour and excitement of the day with this highlights package that captures the spirit of community events in Lanark, Carluke, East Kilbride, Rutherglen and Hamilton."

It makes you wonder, does it not, why every youngster in this video needs a Named Person guardian to oversee their wellbeing?


Published on 26 September 2016 ( Daily Record)

"Possible changes to the Scottish Government’s controversial Named Person proposals will not affect the current implementation of the scheme in Rutherglen and Cambuslang." 

"The SNP had hoped to introduce the scheme, which assigns a named person guardian to every person under the age of 18, across the country by August of this year, but plans were halted after the Supreme Court raised concerns over whether some of the information sharing provisions would breach the European Human Rights Act..."

"A South Lanarkshire Council spokesman said: `GIRFEC was introduced as an approach to apply across all children and adult, public and voluntary sector services to improve the use of resources and achieve better futures for children`."

"Since about 2009 every child in a South Lanarkshire school had an identified named person from education (head teacher in primary and promoted member of staff in secondary) and all children who have not yet started school had an identified named person from NHS (Health Visitor)."

"Currently this totals approximately 62,000 children and young people..."

"The Lanarkshire pathfinder project was considered to be successful. However the council could not provide any information on how often the service has been used."

"The Reformer understands action often taken as a result of the Named Person service is of a low level, such as a note on school records."

The council say they only deal with children, young people and parents who ask for the service... but if all that asking for the service means is that there is a low level note on a school record, why would any sensible person ask for such a service?

That explanation to justify the Named Person scheme seems very suspicious to me. So I would suggest that every parent and child in this area should ask their Named Person for the information that has been placed in a note on their school record. [SEEMiS]  It is very important that families are able to satisfy themselves that the information placed in the school record has been put there in accordance with the law.

As for SEEMiS, who better to give an account and critique of this system which is designed, as far as I can see,  to database all schoolchildren, than an independent organisation like Schoolhouse.

By the way, the diagram that Schoolhouse produces says it all.


Saturday, 24 September 2016

The new Chief Executive of TUSLA

The UK Column News begins with the Docherty case. [23 September 2016]

"Tusla is the Republic of Ireland child protection child agency. It deals with families and children and allegedly the state`s means of protecting them. Now the first head of Tusla - Tusla`s a very new organisation - the first head of Tusla was strangely enough, Scottish. His name was Gordon Jeyes. He came originally from Stirling Council and oddly enough he was in fact head of education during the time of the Dunblane massacre. He then went to Cambridgeshire Council and had a very controversial career down there as well, with the numbers of children being taken into care being one of the areas of interest and concern."

 "And he then went across to set up the new Tusla organisation and because it was a new organisation ... he coined the term: this is the year zero ... for Tusla. Now this was obviously a term coined by the Khmer Rouge: it seemed an odd choice. But after one term he resigned as his deputy took over. His deputy is a man called Fred McBride who by another strange coincidence is also Scottish; and by an even stranger coincidence came from, of all places, Aberdeen Council. Aberdeen City Council is a neighbouring council to the one who has been dealing with the Dochertys."

Mike Robinson presents Fred McBride`s Linkedin page: "It shows that he clearly hasn`t updated it in a while and it shows that he was Director of Social Care and Wellbeing at Aberdeen City Council and just to demonstrate that he`s now moved to Tusla, this is the Tusla website and we can see that Fred McBride is Chief Executive."

"And we can see the press release from Aberdeen City Council saying that he was going to Tusla... "

"`Mr McBride is set to become Chief Operations Officer with a new organisation created by the Republic`s government, the Children and Family Support Agency.` And this is the organisation which became Tusla. So his original job... was Chief Operations Officer. He then became Chief Executive Officer. So he must be doing a good job David?"

"Or he`s certainly been well rewarded. He has of course been no help at all to the Dochertys. He has refused to answer all questions put to him about the Dochertys of which there have been many and ... more on that in a minute. And his background is ... controversial because before he was head of social services in Aberdeen he fulfilled the same job in a different city and that is Dundee just down the coast. And when he was in Dundee, in fact .... before his move to the £107,000 a year post in Aberdeen he was embroiled in a very controversial and very tragic event where a twenty three month toddler, a little boy called Brandon Muir, was murdered and there was a lot of controversy at the time about this because the little boy was murdered by a violent thug who was the mother`s boyfriend and had no direct relationship to the little boy."

"But the violent... individual was known to social services and was in fact banned from seeing his own children without supervision, due to his tendency to be violent to them and to his former partner. Despite this he was allowed full access to this new family and within weeks this ended in death. To make matters worse the grandmother of the small boy actually spotted the problem; realised this man was violent; tried to raise the alarm and of course got nowhere."

"Well this article, if we can just put it back up again confused me a little bit because what it says is: `WATCHDOGS yesterday savaged the social work department that failed to save tragic Brandon Muir.` But then we also have a Guardian article here which is saying that the `killing of a toddler by his mother`s drug-addicted boyfriend could not have been foreseen, an inquiry into child protection services revealed today.` So which is it? " asks Mike Robinson.

"Well this is the question because the inquiry was set up by Fred McBride just before he left Dundee. He set up an inquiry into his own department. But it was an independent inquiry, you understand... and the fact that he wrote the terms of reference wouldn`t have affected it in any way. He then went to Aberdeen and the inquiry reported and very surprisingly exonerated him... But there remains a great deal of concern and criticism from family members and from people who had been directly affected by this. The social services in Dundee failed quite badly in this case."

"Can I just add to that if I may David?" says Brian Gerrish. "That one of the key things about the power of social services is that even within a particular local authority social services operate as a walled city. So if you are a democratically elected councillor and you have concerns about what is happening with children or even what`s happening with social services within your own council you will find it particularly difficult to ask any questions or to get those questions answered and even councillors who have a specific responsibility for childcare have reported to us that they have been excluded, banned by the council, from asking questions of those social services officers..."  

David Scot agrees that there`s no democratic control; there`s no openness. "There is increasingly a change in approach as well because ... the traditional social work approach was quite modest; it realised the difficulties of going into a family and making the right decision. It only did it very reluctantly; it was only in extreme circumstances; and it had a fairly modest approach about what their wisdom was even able to achieve.... In contrast you have the Scottish approach currently which is every aspect of every family is of interest and will benefit from professional help and guidance.  And somehow we`re professionalising the entire family structure in the nation."

"And of course here there`s a much more specific concern which is the head of Tusla came from Aberdeen City Council which was very close ... to Aberdeenshire Council and Aberdeenshire Council and the local health board NHS Grampian are involved in the persecution of the Dochertys. So how much did Mr Fred McBride know? What backdoor links are there back to Scotland through networks, personal networks that he will have created during his professional life in North East Scotland and in what way are these hidden backdoor methods of communication being used to adversely affect the Docherty family and above all else the wellbeing of the Docherty children?"

"OK," says Mike Robinson. "We have three questions for Fred McBride and let`s just bring up a nice picture of him."

Question for Fred McBride:
1. What minimum inquiries, interviews, warnings or other preliminary steps are TUSLA required to undertake (either by statute or by internal standard procedures) before taking the extreme step of seizing children against the wishes of parents and taking them into state care?
"Now pause there on that one Mike. Er.. one of the things I discovered when talking with the Dochertys last week ... there are requirements. We need to find out more about exactly what they are, but they were not followed.  And this was pointed out by a barrister that they managed to hire for a short period ... A fraudulent report was placed in the file... We`ll have details of this on the website and report in detail on this shortly. Tusla`s social worker made a fraudulent report which recorded a meeting that never took place and that was placed in the file. Subsequently, when the case came to court, Tusla`s social worker decided not to perjure herself. So in court she stated the very opposite that this meeting hadn`t taken place. So Tusla has huge questions to answer. Now they won`t answer any questions...because the excuse is we don`t comment on individual cases . So let`s ask them the questions about what the procedures should be and we can then compare that to what actually happened."
2. When children are in care what information regarding their education, health and wellbeing should be communicated to the parents?
3. When families are separated by state/TUSLA action what procedures are in place to effect restoration of the family unit?

Child soldiers planted landmines

Friday, 23 September 2016

The collaborative approach

Damned was screened two years ago, starring Alan Davies, Kevin Eldon and Jo Brand who wrote the script.


A telling comment in Community Care:
"I`ve been a child care social worker for more years than I care to remember and this clip encapsulates the whole ethos of the job."
"Thank goodness Jo has taken time to look into the sometimes fruitless workings of ‘working together’."

Family court system is at full stretch

"The head of the family courts has issued a dire warning about court, barrister and local authority ability to cope with rising numbers of care cases."

"In a commentary about the family courts, published this week, Sir James Munby, president of the High Court’s family division, described the system as `at full stretch` and facing `a clear and imminent crisis`."

"This warning followed another record month for care applications. In the past 10 years, the number of care applications going through the courts have doubled, and 2016-17 already looks to be another record year for case numbers."
"The single, most important thing that could be done to tackle the crisis was a shift in the focus of the family courts towards tackling the causes of care cases, he added. He cited positively the Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC), which seeks to use proceedings to help parents tackle substance misuse problems and thereby keep hold of their children, and Pause, which supports women at risk of repeat removals of children."
"FDAC, Pause and similar projects are, at present, the best hope, indeed, in truth, the only hope, we have of bringing the system, the ever increasing numbers of care cases, under control," he concluded."
A good response from LongtimesSW

"This goes to the heart of the British Constitution as it now exists rightly, the Judiciary and the legislature are separate."

"However what is clear is that social care have to answer/respond to both."

"Resources or lack of them are not accepted by Courts as a reason not to comply with Legal obligations in turn Government control of the purse strings for those resources take little or no account of the laws they promote and are passed."

"Yet again the focus is on perceived social care failings rather than the failings of social policy/legislation that is driven by finance rather than need (allowing private organisations to disregard some aspects of statute in respect of Child Protection responsibilities is an example)."

Thursday, 22 September 2016

New influx of funding for migrant crisis

It was announced on UK Column News yesterday that Brian Gerrish and Mike Robinson will be joining David Scott at a meeting in the Riverside, Stirling Road, Dunblane on Wednesday 28th September.

One of the topics covered in the news is the announcement by George Soros that he will be spending 500 million dollars to provide aid for migrants. Theresa May has also stated that the UK is going to be spending hundreds of millions of pounds on the migrant crisis in Europe. "So they`ve created the problem," says Mike Robinson. "They`re trying to incite the reaction in the public and they`re going to provide a global solution to this problem they`ve created... They`re herding people across the planet."

Pointing to an Open Democracy article Robinson goes on to say: "They`re pushing the idea that we should be `responsibility sharing`...on an equal basis because we want to distribute these migrants as far and as wide as we possibly can.  About the same number going to each host country."

Coincidentally, Tony Blair has stated that he is going to close his commercial operations because he wants to concentrate the vast bulk of his time on the not-for-profit work he does. ... "This is NGO, charity work. This is what`s driving the real evil around the world at the moment."

Brian Gerrish adds: "I think it`s significant that Soros has put his head so far above the parapet. These people like using their organisations... to do the job. If Soros is having to come public and say: five hundred million dollars to achieve this - if he`s going to have to do that in person - it says to me there`s a rush."

Mike Robinson reminds viewers about the previous day`s news when he showed a picture tweeted by Unicef: "At the heart of this programme are children... See the image put on a tweet .. .They`re trying to say with a hashtag that children should come first. And I was really highlighting the irony of Roelie Post because she`s still being targeted by the United Nations and the European Union over her attempts to expose what`s been happening to children over decades."

"Well, she passed this through to us via Vanessa Beeley today. The European Commission has announced a ... partnership shall we say, with Unicef, and they`re saying they`re helping to address learning and protection needs of children affected by the Syria crises. `As a new school year gets underway`, they say, `across the middle east a major injection of funds from the European Union is boosting efforts to provide learning opportunities and protection to hundreds of thousands of children and youth who have fled the Syria conflict`."

"So this is great !" exclaims Robinson sarcastically. "Lots and lots of money going in to protect children but we should not forget, only a few months ago, I think in April this year, this report from Gatestone Institute that the European Union and Turkey have treated Syrian refugees so terribly that they found themselves in such a horrendous situation that they have just become prey for sex traffickers."

Children are being sold for 700 dollars to 1700 dollars. " Parents are being persuaded that their children are going to better lives but, in fact, quoting from the report: `This has become the fastest growing ... criminal market in Europe with refugee smuggling the major source of income."

"So what`s the EU doing, according to that partnership with Unicef? They`re putting money into keeping refugees in camps which of course places them in a position of being easy targets for these traffickers."

Gerrish agrees: "Yeah. So we force the migration problem. With that we get families broken up: the men in particular often the first to leave in order to try and get work elsewhere and that leaves mother and the children vulnerable to what`s then going to come."

See also Roelie Post Search a Child, Pay Cash: The Adoption Lobby

Campaign to introduce the Nordic kindergarten model to Scotland

Anne Glennie in the Learning Zoo responds to Teaching Scotland`s article about the campaign by Upstart Scotland to introduce a Nordic-style kindergarten system in Scotland.

"In the search for a solution to our problems, it is natural to consider the countries which top the PISA tables and to try and ‘have a bit of what they’re having’. However, when it concerns literacy and the attainment gap, we would do well to be wary of hastily drawn conclusions. Sue Palmer cites countries such as Finland, Switzerland and Estonia, attributing their success to the fact that ‘formal’ learning in these countries does not start until age 7."

"This assumption, the backbone of the Upstart campaign, is entirely erroneous. There is a much simpler, more basic, reason that explains why these countries are at the top of their game when it comes to reading and literacy: their languages have transparent orthographies. Or, to put it another way: Finnish, German and Estonian (a Uralic language related to Finnish) are all easy languages to learn. The written code of these languages is simple and, in the case of Finnish, one letter equals one sound."

"Many children in Finland come to school already able to read and if they can’t teaching them is the small matter of a term’s work. Interestingly, Denmark doesn’t get a mention from Sue Palmer, although children there also start school at 7 but it is perhaps not wise to advertise their literacy struggles. Despite a two year ‘advantage’ in a kindergarten stage, Danish children have similar difficulties in acquiring the alphabetic principles of their language, although not quite as extreme as in English. Furthermore, research shows that ‘foundation literacy acquisition by non-English European groups is not affected by gender and is largely independent of variations in the ages at which children start formal schooling’ (Seymour/Aro/Erskine)."

"English, on the other hand, has a deep orthography which gives rise to various complexities; not least of which is the fact that we have 44+ phonemes (sounds) in English and only 26 letters of the alphabet to represent them with. This, coupled with direct borrowing from other languages, means that we have a huge number of spelling alternatives, making English the most difficult alphabetic language to learn, and teach, in the world. Indeed, it takes at least three years of teaching, learning and practice to master the basics of reading, writing and spelling. This complexity is also the reason that we have so many children that struggle because English is hard. But, crucially, success in reading for all is possible. There are already many schools in England that have not only closed the gender gap, but that have successfully closed the attainment gap too even where the majority of their children are disadvantaged or have English as a second language."  

Read more

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Scottish Government plans to scrap some assessments

"The Scottish government plans to scrap some `unit assessments` which are marked by teachers and make up a proportion of pupils' final mark."

"Instead final exams will be strengthened and externally marked coursework in some subjects will also contribute to students' grades."

"National 5 courses will be altered next year and Higher courses in 2018."

"Under the government's plans, some exams may now form 100% of the final mark. In other cases, the externally marked coursework may make up a significant proportion."

"The move comes after Education Secretary John Swinney told teachers he was `absolutely committed` to reducing their workload earlier this year..."

"Members of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) have been on a partial work to rule over the issue."

"Its general secretary, Larry Flanagan, said news of the government's plans would be welcomed by teachers, pupils and parents."

"`Since the introduction of new national qualifications, pupils and teachers have been placed under an excessive and unnecessary assessment burden during the senior phase of secondary, leading finally to EIS industrial action,` he said."

"`The agreement to remove mandatory unit assessments as a requirement from all National 5 and Higher courses is a victory both for common sense and for that campaign of action, carried out by EIS members in secondary schools across Scotland`."
About timeIt`s a pity some pupils are still having to go through the assessments this year.

Janner`s son wants CPS to take action against sex abuse accuser

"A man whose claims about a Westminster paedophile ring prompted a £1.8m police investigation could face prosecution for attempting to pervert the course of justice."

"The claimant, known only as `Nick`, made a series of lurid allegations about a number of influential figures including the former prime minister Edward Heath, Lord Bramall, the former head of the armed forces, the former home secretary Leon Brittan and the former Tory MP Harvey Proctor."

"No evidence was found to back up his claims."

"He also alleged that the former Labour MP Greville Janner later Lord Janner was part of the ring."

"Janner’s family have written to an internal Metropolitan police inquiry demanding that Nick be prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)."

"`If the CPS does not take action then I will be consulting our legal team about launching a private prosecution of Nick,` said Daniel Janner QC, the son of the peer, who died in December while facing allegations of sexual assault."

See The Needle Blog for a list of other allegations against Janner.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Named Persons for children with additional support needs

Calum Munro, formerly policy lead to Highland Children’s Forum, is either lost in his own reality or is deliberately trying to mislead the public.
"Firstly, a single point of contact with services was asked for by parents and carers of children and young people with additional support needs."
"These families continually faced a `pass the parcel` situation when they sought help, where they were the parcel and each time the music stopped, instead of stripping off a layer of wrapping paper more was added in the shape of service specific application forms."
"Their testimony of this experience led to the concept of a single point of initial contact for any family or young person who sought help. The person acting as the single point of contact would be required to take down the story once in a multi-agency acceptable format so that the family or young person was not required to repeat the basics time and time again."
He has obviously not been paying attention to the Tymes Trust, a charity well acquainted with the `pass the parcel` mentality of services for children with additional support needs. In their case their concern is with children suffering and being mistreated by services for ME. Yet they do not support the current Named Person policy.  

Now what was it they had to say about the Named Person again?
"Named Persons have existed in Highland at least as far back as 2001. Under the Education (Scotland) Act 1980, children with additional support needs were provided with a Record of Needs - a booklet from the Scottish Office, 'A Parents’ Guide to Special Educational Needs'  dated 1999 - which offered guidance to parents and 'Named Persons' (SOEID 1999)"
"As a result of advice from the assessment team, a draft Record of Needs was prepared in consultation with the parents. At this point the parents stated whether they wished to have a Named Person - someone appointed by the parents to act as adviser and friend - an active participant - who was on the families` side."
"All of this was made obsolete in 2004, through the Education Additional Support for Learning (Scotland) Act when co-ordinated Support Plans replaced Records of Needs..."
"The Highland GIRFEC trial began in 2005, and by 2007 ‘Named Persons’ - this time appointed by the state, were being trained by the Highland Council to ‘help support and advise’ families over state mandated wellbeing - not the same thing as 'welfare' and not the same as the Child Protection Scheme either."
Calum Munro, as former policy lead to the Highland Children`s Forum, you should know this. Why are you pushing a policy that parents of children with additional support needs do not want? And by implication, why would you wish this imposed on all children?

Sunday, 18 September 2016

School governance review

There are moves towards taking schools out of local authority control and introducing a system similar to free schools in England, only without actually making that explicit. There will be more power for Named Persons and unelected regional boards. It`s a big step towards privatising Scottish education.


"However, the programme for government states: "Currently, legal responsibilities for delivering education and raising standards in our schools sit largely with education authorities, not with the schools and teachers that teach our children and young people every day."

"The governance review will start with the presumption that decisions about individual children’s learning and school life should be taken at school level and will explore how support at every level of our education system can be aligned to deliver that empowerment and drive improvement."

"The document said the review would examine the changes required to `empower schools, decentralise management, establish school clusters and create new educational regions`."

"In parallel, there will be a review of the impact of existing legislation to involve parents in schools to ensure families, as well as teachers, are the `key decision makers`."

The education budget is about £3 billion in Scotland and provides rich pickings for public-private partnerships whether that is school buildings, educational materials, databases, surveys, assessments or early intervention programmes.

To find the Governance Review see HERE

Disabled 3 year old left on bus for three hours


"An urgent investigation has been launched after a disabled three-year-old child was left alone on a bus at a depot for three hours."

"One senior councillor told The Courier it represented `a serious lapse in child protection procedures"."

"Leeland Connor, who attends the city’s Frances Wright Nursery, is autistic, epileptic and suffers from severe developmental delay."

"He was picked up from his home in Linlathen on a Dundee City Council-contracted bus at 12.10pm to be taken to nursery along with other pupils."

"After making the drop off, the bus then travelled to a depot in Morgan Street, with Leeland who is non-verbal still on it."

"He sat unattended until its return to the nursery to pick up the children at 3.30pm without anyone spotting him and apparently without his being reported as having failed to arrive at nursery."

"Dundee City Council said it was dealing with the incident as a `matter of urgency`, with the nursery’s head teacher having already met with parents Michelle Johnstone, 30, and Michael Connor, 27, to apologise."

"Labour’s education spokesman, Councillor Laurie Bidwell, said that an urgent investigation was well warranted..."

"`We need to know how it was that this child was left on the bus and how he was not missed when he did not turn up at the nursery`."

"`Clearly parents and carers and councillors, who are corporate parents, need to be reassured that such a serious lapse in child protection procedures will be avoided in the future`."

Saturday, 17 September 2016

The skewed statistics

STV Scotland Tonight: [13 September 2016] 

Explaining the need for the Named Person service, Martin Crewe, CEO of Barnardos` says that the simple reason for the scheme is that children don`t come with a convenient label which says: "I am vulnerable.... What we know from universal services is that you can pick up the need where it occurs."

Maggie Mellon, a former social worker and current campaigner against the Named Person scheme does not agree. "Well, no ... it`s part of a view... where government actually seems to think it should have a direct relationship and a direct control of children`s lives and that parents are merely a means to kind of deliver that. Now the state makes a lousy parent. It`s children who are currently in care who really need us to get it right for them . They have some of the worst outcomes, and Scotland, contrary to what John Swinney said today, ... actually has the highest rate in the UK of children coming into care as in ... being looked after and accommodated. We actually have fewer children than we used to have being supported at home. So it hasn`t been a preventative measure or it`s a misunderstanding of prevention, and I think it mixes up need where there`s families in huge need but this scheme mixes up need ...with risk, and all we have is a risk assessment framework that actually means the most vulnerable children and the families in greatest need are not having their needs met."

We are constantly being told that the pilot Named Person scheme being run in Highland Council is proving to be a great success and the number of referrals to the Children`s reporter have been going down, suggesting that prevention is working in that area at least.

However, the recent excellent post by the Tymes Trust blows that argument wide open. Taking figures from the Child Protection Biennial Report (2013-2015) exposes that the number of children placed on the `at risk` register in the Highland area has increased by 30%, a rise way above the national average increase.

Heeding the warning from Maggie Mellon that the state makes a lousy parent, this huge increase of children on Child Protection Plans is tragic.


See the Tymes Trust post which elaborates further.

The Euthanasia of disabled child Nancy Fitzmaurice

"The euthanasia of Nancy Fitzmaurice, a severely disabled child who was not dying, has made international waves with disability advocates especially outraged. Nancy’s mother had requested that her daughter be killed and was granted approval by the British legal system. While the 12-year-old Nancy had significant disabilities, she was able to breathe on her own and did not require life support."

"Following the starving of Nancy through the withholding of fluids, the Autism Self Advocacy Network [ASAN] has released a statement slamming this decision, calling it `troubling` and `concerning`."

They said that:

"The decision constitutes an extremely troubling legal precedent, representing the first time the British legal system has allowed a child breathing on her own, not on life support and not diagnosed with any terminal illness, to be killed by the medical system."

"Euthanasia of people with disabilities is an extremely dangerous and wholly inappropriate solution to inadequate pain management. In cases where painkillers are insufficient, a number of alternatives for pain management exist. A policy of euthanasia targets vulnerable people, particularly when it is applied to children. People with disabilities who experience chronic pain should have the same access as others to life-sustaining medical treatment."

"ASAN hits the nail on the head, and especially so by calling out the media coverage of this story, which has been overwhelmingly positive."

"Charlotte Fitzmaurice Wise is portrayed as a loving, devoted, selfless, noble mother for making the decision to kill her daughter, because any child that severely disabled should obviously be put down, like a dog."

Friday, 16 September 2016

Scottish government accepts no responsibility for unlawful data sharing

"John Swinney faced down hostile MSPs to insist he is `wholly confident` pilots of the controversial Named Person policy had kept within the law."

"Highland Council has been running a pilot of the service in which a health worker or senior teacher is allocated to under-18s as a single point of contact for wellbeing issues since 2010..."

"[North-east] MSP Ross Thomson asked for a guarantee from Education Secretary Mr Swinney that the law had not been broken by local authorities."

"But, giving evidence to Holyrood’s education committee... he said: `Much as it has been alleged over the years, I do not run every local authority in the country. Local authorities are self-governing bodies that must take their own decisions. We provide guidance and we have done so, but each local authority must take its own decisions`."

"Earlier in the session, he agreed that he was `wholly confident` that local authorities had not fallen foul of the data-sharing provisions because `all local authorities must act within the law`..."

"A Highland Council spokeswoman said: `The Supreme Court decision related to the information-sharing provisions in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014`."

"`These have not been commenced yet`."

"`The ruling does not relate to existing practice in Highland and elsewhere, which is covered by a range of legislation, and primarily the Data Protection Act and Human Rights Act`."

Maureen Falconer, senior policy officer from the Information Commissioner`s Office encouraged practitioners working with children to share their personal and sensitive information even before the Children and Young People Bill became law. "If you`re going to share information anyway, don`t ask for consent," she said. "All you`re doing is raising expectations that people actually have a choice."

What confidence can there be in John Swinney`s confidence that there have been no data breaches in pilot areas due to the Named Person scheme, when articles are beginning to appear in the press that families` private information has been shared without knowledge or consent, and this had been been actively encouraged?

None, I think.

Home Office confirms Childline is receiving Prevent training

"CHILDLINE STAFF are being trained under the terms of the UK Government’s prevent strategy, which teaches public servants and members of the public how to identify potential terrorists and report them to the police."

"The revelation has raised fears among campaigners over the confidentiality and the quality of the Childline service, which is operated by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). The service is expected to allow children to report on household abuse and other problems in confidence."

"The Prevent strategy is highly controversial due to its focus on the reporting of suspects, often on what critics claim are tenuous grounds. School teachers and university professors have protested against the strategy, which some feel requires them to spy and in some cases inform on their pupils."

"Speaking to CommonSpace, Childline initially denied that it was operating under the prevent strategy. An NSPCC spokesperson said: `Childline is an independent organisation, and is not operating under the Prevent strategy`..."

"However, the Home Office confirmed to CommonSpace that Childline staff are currently receiving training under the Prevent strategy..."

"Richard Haley of the civil rights organisation Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (Sacc) told CommonSpace that Prevent’s advice on how to detect ‘radicalised’ persons is so expansive that it includes indicators such as emotional state and physical appearance, making it unsuitable for a service such as Childline which deals with children and families in distress..."

"`If it works with Prevent, the NSPCC will be exploiting children to assist a police intelligence-gathering exercise and to put pressure on Muslim families to align their views with the government`..."

"The revelation comes after The Ferret reported in November that thousands of public sector workers were given training instructing them on how to identify members of the public who could be terrorists."

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

A positive identification

The above video, an interview between Brian Gerrish and the Docherty family, was uploaded to Youtube on 9 September 2016. It gives a summary of the events surrounding the removal of the Dochertys` four children.

On the same day the video was uploaded David Scott gave an update to UK Column News about the case. It related to the identification of the policeman Sam Buchan who is mentioned in the interview.

"We now have a positive identification of the policeman who came to the door of the Dochertys... the man the Dochertys believed to be Sam Buchan wasn`t Sam Buchan as we pointed out last week. It was in fact Sergeant Gilbert Buchan..."

"So this is the man who came to the door . This is the man who presumably altered the reports. This is the man who has got a lot of questions to answer."

In an earlier UK Column News the Dochertys are reported to have said: "Sergeant Buchan was older; he had grey hair; he had completely different features."  I`m not sure that the above photograph actually fits that description. I understand that retrieving an image from memory is not a reliable process but facial recognition is much more dependable. Also photographs may be out-of-date. Perhaps this will be clarified in due course.



Court appearance Friday. See below.

Globalism at the local level

In recent times Mike Robinson has been talking a lot about constitutional change on UK Column News:

"Here`s another example: The Global Parliament of Mayors held their inaugural meeting... and they had a two day conference which concluded as I say on Sunday. The new platform they say will enable cities to further their cooperation in addressing global challenges. So in this inaugural meeting mayors discussed action oriented plans concerning climate change, migration and governance and here`s an example."

"One of their plenary sessions: The City & the Interdependent World, and of course this is the key point that we`re trying to make with regard to the constitutional change and also governance changes that are going on globally at the moment. Because the relationship is being changed not just in the United Kingdom between... the individual and the nation. And interdependence is a very key part of this."

"So I want to draw people`s attention to the article on the UK Column website once again: The Global Parliament of Mayors & the Abolition of the Electorate. And if you haven`t read that, please do read it. What they are arguing for is a planet ruled by cities which represents a new paradigm of global governance: Of democratic - glocalism as they`re calling it - rather than top down imposition, of horizontalism rather than hierarchy, of pragmatic interdependence rather than outworn ideologies of national independence. So national independence is an outworn ideology Brian."

"Foundations for this new world are being erected in our own age as cities collaborate, and citizens communicate across borders with increasing ease and frequency. What remains is... liberating possibilities of these developments and in a question and answer session the Global Parliament of Mayors were asked: `In a world of nation states and supranational entities like the EU will cities have the resources and jurisdictional authority to undertake the difficult work of global governance?` And the answer was: `One of the most important aims of the Global Parliament of Mayors is to develop a right of the city platform to secure the resources and jurisdictional autonomy necessary to discharge local and global responsibilities.` And they were then asked: `Can the Global Parliament of Mayors really be a world government with a command and control architecture?` And the answer was: `No it cannot. It should not aspire to be that. It should be a bottom up, soft governance institution that works through influencing other levels of governance and the civic and private sector with sound policies and effective solutions. Global public opinion must also be its target`."

"So the key point here is that this is Big Society on a global basis. This is about what appears to be local control. We were talking about this yesterday that it is in fact centralised control at the local level. It`s also participatory democracy in the sense that individuals do not get the opportunity to participate. Bodies like Global Parliament of Mayors, like third sector organisations [charities] - they get the opportunity to set policy, to advise on policy and to make their opinions known.  But the individual doesn`t."

"And just to end this section: I`ll just highlight this quote from the Mayor of the Hague who of course is one of the people who is instrumental in setting up the Global Parliament of Mayors, and he said:"

"The Global Parliament of Mayors will deploy collective urban political power manifesting the right of cities to govern themselves, as well as the responsibility to enact viable, cross-border solutions to global challenges. In this era of interdependence, where nation states are increasingly dysfunctional and cities are everywhere rising, the moment has come for cities to take the leap from effective local governance to true global governance."

"And this is what we`re looking at."

Brian Gerrish summarises the situation: "It is Big Society by stealth and of course there was information straight out of the Conservative party and Labour saying that they were following the Saul Alinski policy in creating communitarianism. So this is what we have started to see coming through."
I think we can see how participatory democracy is working in joined up Scotland with the recent announcement of an intensive consultation about the Named Person policy. The big charities and other selected stakeholders will have their say, but the ordinary people who oppose the policy will not. The result is a foregone conclusion.

I`ll just add this: 
Education for the 21st century
"Curriculum for Excellence is now a reality in all Scottish schools and the message of `think global, act local’ encapsulates a great deal of what the new curriculum means in practice..."
"It is vital to remember that global citizenship is not an add-on to Curriculum for Excellence - it is central to it..."
It`s getting easier to see that education for the 21st century actually means preparing children for the new world order.