Calls for home-schooling register as boy, 8, dies from scurvy after becoming 'invisible' from authorities

At the time of his death, Dylan Seabridge had allegedly not had contact with authorities for thirteen months

Siobhan Fenton
Saturday 09 July 2016 11:50
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It is unknown how many children are home-schooled in the UK
It is unknown how many children are home-schooled in the UK

The Government has been urged to set up a register of all children being home-schooled after an eight-year-old boy died of scurvy.

The recommendations have been made in an independent review set up following the death of Dylan Seabridge in Pembrokeshire, Wales. When the child died at his family farmhouse, he had apparently not had any direct contact with doctors, nurses and teachers for 13 months. Education officials had visited his home after concerns had been raised about him, but they were allegedly denied entry and they had not enforceable powers to see him.

Dylan collapsed in December 2011 and his family phoned 999. Emergency services attended but he suffered from cardiac arrest in an ambulance on the way to hospital and could not to be saved.

His parents, Julie and Glynn Seabridge, told authorities that they thought he was suffering from growing pains. An inquest found he had scurvy, which can occur due to severe Vitamin C deficiency.

His parents were charged with child neglect but the case was later dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Following Dylan’s death, the Welsh government set up an independent review of the circumstances. The findings, reported in Wales Online, include: “He was not routinely having access to play, leisure, sporting and cultural activities along with friendships and age appropriate socialisation.

“When he encountered health problems he was not given the right to appropriate health care. His parents had parental responsibility and a duty to provide appropriate care, including the need to seek medical attention for his health needs. This did not happen.”

Review author Gladys Rhodes White said: “It is particularly poignant that in conducting this review we have no sense whatsoever of this child. Who was he, what did he like, what were his thoughts and aspirations?

“There is a total lack of information on him other than very limited glimpses gleaned from the information presented by the family. It is tragic that there are many references that the child was ‘invisible’.”

She added that current legislation which allows parents to home-school children without informing local authorities of the child’s welfare stood at odds to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

A spokesperson for the Welsh Assembly said the Government would take the proposals into consideration.

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