Hmm depends if he wants something! Hes' coming this weekend to go to the Guitar show with me. Irregular vivits
I'm just about to send the email- here it is- hope enough space !
Please tell me what you think asap. Thanks
Dear Mr Austin, Ms Randall and Ms Woods
I am going on what has been reported by John in his weekly emails (digests, which I really appreciate) and what Ben has told me himself. There is a need for someone independent to be investigating this as clearly John and I have very different views on what is best for Ben. Please see my responses to John’s comments below.
Apologies for the length of this email and I appreciate your taking the time to read it. I look forward to hearing further from you about your plans to look into these matters and involve me in any further proceedings.
Many thanks and
- Surya was informed/consulted about my decision to home educate Ben as soon as I started to consider it. In fact Ben and I stayed the weekend with Surya in Twickenham two days after I first informed Surya.
I tried to talk to John about Home Ed and he said it was none of my business (although I still have parental responsibility and rights) In fact I remember him saying this in front of Ben that weekend, and he would not talk to me alone when I asked him to do so.
2 Ben has not stopped his English tutor, Philippa and is seeing her this term. He did not want lessons from her at the end of last term. How many times has he seen Philippa in the last year? How many hours were booked and then cancelled and how many have been booked for this term ?
3 Ben leaves the house, not as regularly as I would like, but on an average of once every two/three days during the holidays and almost every day in term time. Where does he go, how long for, and who does he meet? There is no evidence to show that he goes out almost every day in term-time. There was one period of just over a week in the holiday when he did not leave the house. There is plenty of evidence in John’s digests that show this has occurred more often in the past 2 years
4 Ben does more than “play computer games and musical instruments”, This is what Ben’s feelings are (he told me this in the car) and he needs to feel listened to.
Correct if I’m wrong, but I believe that ‘Safeguarding’ implies that someone is subject to serious neglect or abuse. Surya gives no evidence or indication of this so I suggest that this allegation is rejected.Education Welfare is a much broader term, but I do not know, from her email, what Surya wants done or why and therefore I do not how anyone in MCC can act/investigate. What does “looks into the situation” and “my concerns have not been addressed” specifically mean or refer to?
I’ve been wanting to do this for a very long time now, and held off as I’d hoped the EHE team might monitor Ben *more frequently (see below)
I have emailed John many times stating my concerns for Ben were not just educational but he never responded to me about them eg Ben’s physical, mental, emotional, social wellbeing,when he was going to take him to the G, dentist etc I have reports from failed mediation attempts also stating all my concerns.
Here is one email to John that I found from over a year ago:
Tue 16/04/2013 18:49 You said you didn't know about Safeguarding- it's all in the document you sent me! If you read p2 of what you sent me you will see the green box and the Protocol about Section 7 of the Education Act under Section 437P4 3.1 talks about safeguarding...read on for more info 3.7 "Following any initial contact etc..report to be copied to the parents"- I still have parental responsibility See also 3.10 Concerns4.1 Assessing the efficiency- I would question whether some of these points have been fulfilled.4.5 Objectives? Dealing with Inadequate Provision4.9, 22.214.171.124Child Welfare6.1 and onwards
Here is an updated list of my concerns.
1. I’m less worried about Ben's academic development. Although he clearly enjoys being with some of his tutors I feel he is so bright he’d catch up anyway with schoolwork. As I have said before (do u want me to resend that email?) I’m more concerned about his physical, emotional, mental and social wellbeing and am concerned that the longer he stays out of the school system the harder it will be to get back in. This also has implications for later life- how will he ever fit in to a college/work environment if hasn’t had to do things like work with others, etc
2. Am still concerned about his diet and lack of consistent exercise, lack of daylight and routine etc. I know you are too- how can I help support you?
3. Can you both learn to respect my rights as a parent to have some input into Ben’s education, social, physical, mental and emotional wellbeing (as I said before)?
4 The amount of time Ben is left alone with the PC/TV etc |Do you monitor what he is viewing and playing?? If so, how? Re his headaches- he is sleeping with the ipad charging under his pillow- could that be part of the problem? Do you know what time he is going to sleep??
6 I think I said before too, that the common signs of depression are lack of sleep, headaches, stomach aches, feeling tired and irritable, not eating etc.
Given that this above is one of MANY emails I sent to John since July 2012, it is very sad that my concerns are still are the same now.
Re 4 How does John know what else he is doing on the computer/lack of parental controls and why is Ben being allowed to use a voice changer to make himself sound older when he talks to someone playing an 18 rated games?
Re 6 above, Ben told me some time ago that he had told John several times that he was depressed (he woke me in the middle of the night during one visit in a very bad state, crying and clearly very distressed, was fully clothed as he hadn’t gone to bed. I listened to him and mentioned I thought he might be depressed and suggested he might talk to someone. He didn’t want to at that time. I’ve since sent him details of a local confidential counselling service in Monmouthshire as well as Childline but I don’t think he or John have followed this up)
The only elements of Surya’s email that you are able to respond directly to are about Ben’s education.
No- see below- they have a duty of care to safeguard all children.
When we have discussions like this I am always amazed at the wide range of topics that are brought up etc
I’m not saying that Ben isn’t bright but I’m concerned about his future- eg that he will not have good enough social skills to be able to find himself a job and support himself now he‘s so isolated , eg the ability to negotiate, compromise, and do things that he doesn’t necessarily want to do- these are all part of general life skills.
I do not feel EHE means that the child is responsible for educating himself. I have seen no evidence that Ben has received efficient full-time education suitable — (1) to his age, ability and aptitude, and (2) to any special educational needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise." Section 7 of the Education Act (England and Wales) 1996
You should also know, unless you do anyway, that I send a weekly digest to Surya during term time so that she knows what Ben and I have been doing together. Ben does speak on the phone to Surya every one or two weeks, but Ben does not discuss much detail.No, I phone but Ben rarely speaks to me.
Some suggestions for Improving Ben’s Education
I know John is doing his best for Ben and has some good plans for him to do some GCSEs but I think Ben would benefit from additional help eg Flexi-schooling, attending college p/t/meeting other EHE pupils or even do some internet schooling which would give him the opportunity to:
- be monitored by professionals
- be involved in group work with other pupils, gaining life skills such as team work, negotiating and compromise, sharing knowledge and ideas, learning to respect others’ opinions etc.
Can John show how Ben would develop such skills if Ben is so isolated?
- help to ease Ben into a better daily routine (as I know he gets up/goes to bed at different times) – also life skills, to learn how to be punctual, reliable, work to deadlines etc
Can John show how these skills can be learnt when Ben has so few lessons with other tutors?
Below is some info I found
I am concerned that Ben is missing education and wonder if he has been placed on the Lost Pupils Database. He has been out of the school system for far longer than the required 4 weeks
The LA accepts its responsibility to locate, assess, monitor and track Children Missing Education in order for them to reach their true potential and is committed to providing an education of the highest quality for all children and young people. The Elective Home Education Teacher will visit families on a termly basis.
*I think there have only been a few visits and Ben hasn’t engaged with anyone from MCC
Children who go missing from education
9.78 If a child or young person is receiving an education, not only do they have the opportunity to fulfil their potential, they are also in an environment, which enables local agencies to safeguard and promote their welfare. If a child goes missing from education they could be at risk of significant harm.
Safeguarding 4.7 The welfare and protection of all children, both those who attend school and those who are educated at home, are of paramount concern and the responsibility of the whole community.
See Working Together to Safeguard Children 2006