Saturday, October 03, 2009

Letter to the Independent

The Government wants parents, at the earliest opportunity, to hand all child-rearing responsibility to the authorities. Enclosed with each child benefit award is a leaflet about childcare; nurseries can accept babies from the age of six weeks; our school starting age is the lowest in Europe, and our working hours are the longest.

House prices are such that two average incomes are needed to buy even a modest property. Where does that leave our children? On top of this, if you do decide to take responsibility and look after your own children, you are seen as an anachronism; there are no stop-at-home mums on CBeebies, though every other walk of life is represented.

Worse, if you take responsibility to home-school your children rather than send them to state school for a tick-box education, a government review is giving local authority inspectors the right to enter your home and interview your child.

I am part of a home education group, and we have been told by the council that all the adults will need a CRB check, though no one is in loco parentis because the parents of all the children are present.

The nonsense of trying to make life risk-free, and dictating to us how we should live, is eroding family and community life. A man hardly dare smile at a child in a park for fear he will be branded a pervert. A friend who teaches childcare to students asked if they would stop an unknown child from walking in to the road; not one of them said they would, in case of an assault allegation. This is from people who will one day be looking after children.

Angela Elliott

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