Tuesday, 17 November 2009

School Entry Wellbeing Review

If you have a 5 year old then watch out. Lincolnshire Community Health Services (CHS) have a pilot consisting of a 4-page, tick box survey containing 100 questions.

The Review asks parents to indicate whether their child "often lies or cheats": whether they steal or bully; and how often they eat red meat, takeaway meals or fizzy drinks. In addition questions are asked about their health and their partner’s health, whether they or their partner are in paid employment.

Completing the review is evidently voluntary but, as this initial communication will be followed up with a reminder, then a third letter and a potential home visit from the School Nursing team, parents don't see it this way.

It is a sad indictment of the relationship between citizen and state that one mother said she felt that merely objecting to this questionnaire might lead to her and her child being placed on some sort of risk register. As DoH guidance states that local areas should aim for 100 per cent coverage of children in the locality, then her suspicions do not sound unreasonable.

Sections 12 and 29 of the Children's Act 2004 include provisions whereby the Secretary of State may order the setting up of databases. In theory, they allow for government to demand whatever information it sees fit to demand in respect of children, and to pass it on to any third party. Nonetheless, the regulations do not appear to include any powers to demand information on parents.

If successful, all parents in England and Wales will be (very firmly ) advised to fill in the review.

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