Saturday, 18 August 2012

Put your own house in order

Picture yourself considering a childcare provider. A national one catches your eye: they seem popular, have outlets across the UK, and lots of your friends have used them. Fantastic! Sounds like a definite possibility. So you decide to give them a call and ask for some further information, wanting to make sure you'll be sending your child somewhere safe.

"Good morning, you're through to the childcare provider of choice, Bob Bobbleedob speaking, how can I help you today?"

"Ah, hi! I'm currently thinking of applying for a childcare place for my daughter, Charlie, with your company, I just wanted a bit more info from you."

"No problem, what information did you need?"

"Well, I obviously want to make sure that Charlie would be as safe as possible with you. What's your figure for children who are bullied at any of your outlets?"

"That would be 69% of them. So, er, not all. Ahem."

"Right. Erm, that sounds like quite alot. Do you have figures for any injuries sustained by children in attacks in your care? Probably sounds a bit overly cautious but I just want to be sure haha..."

"Ahem, well, actually yes, since you're asking, more than 150 children who attend our childcare outlets are  injured in attacks."

"Oh. Wow. Gosh. Like, every year?"

"Erm, well no, that's each week. And, well, while we're kind of on the subject, it's thought that at least twenty of them kill themselves each year due to bullying here. But, y'know, we're working on that."

"Errr, ok, well I think I might be looking elsewhere, but I might as well ask you the rest of my questions, just for comparison's sake if that's OK. How well do kids learn the basics with you? Reading, writing, that kind of thing."

"Well, we've previously announced that just under 60% of children who have spent eleven years of their childhood in our care, can read and write properly!"

"Soooo, more than four in every ten kids can't after that time?"

"Well, if you want to be pedantic and turn it round that way... no."

"OK, What about your staff? No incidences of any problems there I hope?"

"Oh dear, this is getting a bit awkward now. We obviously try and employ child carers who we think, based on them not having been caught abusing children, won't do that. But... welllll... let me email you over a nice little graphic that shows the situation more easily than I can probably explain."

"Oh thanks, it's come straight though here, it's a map. Oh. Gosh. I don't even know what to say, that's appalling. Thanks for your time and everything, I'm sure there are other good reasons that people do use your service, but we'll not be using you for Charlie's childcare. Bye!"

"Hold on please, before you hang up, can I just check whereabouts in the country you live?"

"Wales. Why?"

"Ok great. We'll need to take your details so we can register you."

"No, I said we wouldn't be using your service, thanks though."

"I don't think you understand. You'll still need to register with us."


"Because we say so. We've decided that in addition to those who use our service registering with us, we'll arrange for you legally to have to register too."

"To register with you?"


"Even though we don't require your services?"



"Ah, are you maybe thinking you don't want to register with us if you're not getting anything for it?"

"Well, kind of..."

"Then maybe this will help: We'll probably want to monitor you. So there's that. Help any?"

"Are you kidding? Monitor what? To see if in your eyes I'm succeeding with my own child where your company is failing with millions of other people's children???"

"Er, yes."

"How can you possibly think that that's ok???"

"Because we're the best. Oh, I know there's all those attacks, and bullying, and abuse, and suicides. And, yeah, yeah, figures show that children who don't use our service are much less at risk blah blah blah. And the research that shows how good educational outcomes are for those kids. Yadda yadda. But we've decided we're the best anyway, and so we'll be monitoring you. And if we don't like what we see, we'll make Charlie come to us after all. That'll be nice, won't it?"


This situation brought to you by:


  1. A great post..inspired and sadly too true nice one xxx

    1. Lol, yes sadly inspired by idiocy, but there we go :)

  2. Genius! Thank you for providing me with a one-click response to those naysayers!

  3. Fantastic post, thanks for writing it. Would be hilarious if it weren't so.....true.

    1. Ah yes, there's the rub. These interfering minions are real :/

  4. Spot on, yet again!
    I can also imagine Mr Bobbleebob saying that soon the only way Charlie will be able to get the much coveted GCSE's and A-levels if he's registered with them...
    Surely I'm not the only one who's noticed that even within HE circles the messages to the ptb seems to be: "You may think we're doing something different, but really, we aren't. Because look: all these home ed kids have achieved the national certificates for obedience and compliance, aka GCSE's and A-levels!"
    Of course there's nothing wrong with families going for these qualifications if that's what they want / need / like. But it's getting a bit dodgy - imho - if the message is that a young person is successful *because* (s)he has those quals.

    1. Yes! Like you say, if they're the route a family goes for their own reasons, then great, there are some brilliant success stories out there. But I'm very wary of all the articles that shout, "Look! Home Ed does work *because* we got/can take these too!". Would be good to see a higher profile for all the happy success stories that take a different route :)

    2. Agree, although you'd have to be able to actually recognise them as success stories. Unfortunately it will take a massive change in public perception for that to happen. And again, that change is also needed amongst a growing group of home educators, whose main objective seems to be to pacify the LA's. :(

    3. Very true. I measure success 100% in happiness.

  5. Mm yes, sounds a bit stark when put like that!!

  6. This is a really useful post for composing my response to the consultation questions - thank you very much.

    1. No worries :) Need to get on writing mine too actually!