'Championing the rights of children'

Blame bad parents for Britain’s ills, says Sir Michael Wilshaw

Garry Wed 16 Oct 2013 20:45

Families where parents no longer “take responsibility” for teaching their children “right and wrong” are at the root of Britain’s biggest problems, the man overseeing the education of millions of pupils has claimed.

In outspoken remarks about the “social breakdown” of Britain, Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector of schools and social care, attacked “hollowed out and fragmented families” where parents suffer a “poverty of accountability”.

Sir Michael made the comments as Ofsted published a national report on the state of social care, which showed that almost six out of 10 councils are failing to do enough to protect vulnerable children and revealed that 700,000 youngsters are growing up in homes blighted by drug or alcohol addiction.

But he said child abuse and neglect was not the fault of local authorities alone. Such issues were the product of a “social breakdown”, he added.

Sir Michael warned that the problems exposed in child abuse scandals were being deepened by an apparent national obsession with “pussyfooting around” and “making excuses” for bad parents. The head of Ofsted claimed that town planners must also take their share of the blame for the problems he highlighted. He said that by filling areas with betting shops and fast food outlets, they “obviously do not help to support troubled families and troubled children”.

A series of cases have shown how opportunities were missed to save the lives of children such as Baby P and Daniel Pelka, who was tortured and starved to death by his mother and stepfather.

Sir Michael claimed that, even in cases where children had died, social services chiefs should not be sacked necessarily because the resulting turmoil was making matters worse. The report portrayed a child protection system that is deeply troubled, with one in seven councils judged “unacceptably poor” – a figure that has grown in the past year – and only four out of 10 meeting the grade of “good” or higher in inspections.

Read more... (Daily Telegraph - 16 October)