Gove seeks more powers to take 'lost souls' into care
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Friday 02 September 2011
Radical moves to make it easier to take children into care to avoid them joining an "educational underclass" of "lost souls" are being demanded by the Education Secretary Michael Gove.
Action was necessary to stop them joining gangs and ending up in prison, he said in his first speech in the wake of this summer's riots. He also ordered a review of sanctions against truants and their parents.
He promised to introduce measures to make it easier to take children into care or be adopted or fostered by parents who would have them "enfolded in love". The response to Mr Gove's speech was muted last night – largely because teachers and social carers were waiting to see more proposals behind the rhetoric.
One of the major problems identified by ministers in the past has been the low educational attainment of children taken into care – suggesting that care is not a panacea for improving their prospects.
Headteachers, too, have baulked at the suggestion that parents should be taken to court over their children's truancy, preferring to try to reach agreement with them to attend good-parenting classes.
Mr Gove, speaking at an academy school, said: "It is clear we need to be tougher on inadequate parents."
On truancy, he said he was setting up a taskforce of professionals headed by the Government's adviser on behaviour, Charlie Taylor, who has been headteacher of a unit for disruptive pupils, to look at the sanctions available to schools, the police and courts for tackling persistent absentees from the classroom.
"Many appear to shrug off fines and avoid existing sanctions, refusing to take responsibility for their actions," he said.
The taskforce would also investigate alternative means of providing education for young people excluded from school. "These young people are not in school for much of their teenage years – they are on the streets and on my conscience," he said. "It is from that underclass that gangs draw their recruits."
Mr Gove added that the levels of illiteracy in England were "shocking". The problem, he said, began in the early years with children arriving at school unable to learn.
He said he recognised that labelling children as members of a social "under-class" had "potentially controversial connotations".
King Salman: Just five days in, Saudi Arabia's new king has already overseen a beheading
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 3 Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...
£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is a small friendly village prim...
£14600 - £17600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are passionate about sup...