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Home schooling attracts attention of DOCs, ICL

Home schooling attracts attention of DOCs, ICL

Jamieson & Kennard

X

  1. X is described by all that meet him in a positive way:-
    1. The father in his December 2016 affidavit describes X as “extremely socialised, polite with a sense of humour, well-spoken and well-mannered, respectful negotiator”.
    2. Ms M (a friend of the father’s) states in her affidavit that “X has always displayed polite and friendly behaviour” ([4] Ms M’s affidavit).
    1. Mr D (X’s current (hobby omitted) coach) describes the child as “exceptionally polite, well mannered and very punctual” ([4] Mr D’s affidavit).
    1. Mr M (X’s (omitted) teacher) states that X is a “keen learner with a positive and can-do attitude” ([3] Mr M’s affidavit).
    2. Mr J (X’s former (hobby omitted) coach) says that X was “an amazingly well mannered and intelligent boy, with a great ability to engage with and capable of making relationships” ([2] Mr J affidavit).
    3. Mr B ((omitted)) Manager deposes that “X is… very intelligent and keen to learn… and has been consistently happy, pleasurable and very well behaved” ([5] and [6] Mr B’s affidavit).
    4. Sergeant Mr M (police) said that X is a “very polite young boy”.
    5. DOCS, in the 7 June 2017 letter, states that “X is a very well-mannered and mature boy”.
  2. The father maintains that X is an extraordinarily gifted child and therefore is not suitable for mainstream schooling and it is for this reason the father has given up nearly everything to school and look after X.
  3. The father is registered to home school X.
  4. Ms F, the manager of the Home Education Unit (Ms F) explains:-
    1. That a parent can apply to be considered for registration” as a home educator and that “no formal qualification or standards that apply” and that “home educators are not required to teach under the Australia curriculum” and that “they are able to engage with any educational philosophy” ([70] family report).
    2. That home educators are “not required to demonstrate that the child is meeting the standards of their peer level and there is no formal testing for children” ([72] family report).
    1. That the father “has met the standards and has provided evidence to suggest that X is progressing in his education” ([71] family report).
    1. That the father “has not elicited support from other teachers and she was not sure whether he avails himself of community supports” ([70] family report).
  5. The father devotes three pages ([8] father’s December 2016 affidavit) to explain why X is an extraordinary and gifted child and to details his achievements to date which include:-
    1. Reading, speaking and writing two languages;
    2. Reading, speaking and understanding (language omitted);
    1. Learning (language omitted);
    1. Understanding, speaking and writing (language omitted);
    2. Reading books from aged 4;
    3. Swimming three different strokes;
    4. Being advanced in learning such as doing high school instead of Grade 5 in 2017;
    5. Participating in (omitted) competitions;
    6. Participating in (omitted) competitions;
    7. Playing two musical instruments;
    8. Playing in (omitted) tournaments;
    1. Operating robotic systems;
    1. Playing in (omitted) tournaments;
    2. Rock climbing;
    3. Writing stories;
    4. High computer skills;
    5. Learning body language; and
    6. Studying political systems.
  6. As to whether X is truly a gifted child at this stage is a complete unknown:-
    1. In a Confidential Guidance Report from (omitted) State School dated December 2011, it is noted that “X is a five year old boy who completed the (omitted) Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence. His general cognitive ability as estimated by this assessment is in the very superior range”.
    2. The family consultant commented in the Memorandum to Court that “I would estimate he has an above average intelligence and he is very talented in extra-curricular activities such as (omitted), music and (omitted)”.
    1. The family report writer states that “X presented as a serious and formal child… presented as using large words potentially in an effort to appear intelligent but his use of such did not fit the topic or was not the correct choice” ([48] family report).
    1. DOCS in the 7 June 2017 letter noted “that there is no evidence to support that X is performing above his age level academically due to him being home schooled” and that “reports from Ms F from the Department of Education and Training indicate that the sample of work submitted indicates that X is working at an appropriate level for his age”.
    2. Ms F, the manager of the Home Education Unit (Ms F) explained that the father elected for X not to sit the NAPLAN test and she has not met the child or had contact with the child ([72] family report).
    3. X (nearly 11) has not had any testing as to his intelligence or academic level since the age of 5.
  7. X is involved in a range of activities including:-
    1. Game of (omitted).
    2. Luminosity on computer.
    1. (omitted) lessons four days per week.
    1. Project based home schooling.
    2. (omitted) building.
    3. (omitted) lessons.
    4. Music lessons.
    5. (omitted) Gym.
  8. The father’s preference for X to be involved in his education and his activities rather than see his mother has been repeatedly echoed by the child:-
    1. He would prefer to do his hobbies, (omitted) and (omitted) than see his mother. When asked whether his mother could take him to his events he stated ‘my mother is not interested in those things, she’s interested in money… so she can tell Centrelink, she wants to tell Centrelink about the family tax benefit and the child support. If she is telling you that she wants to spend more time with me, she’s a liar.’ As he stated this, his voice became firmer in tone and louder in volume and he had tears in his eyes” ([57] family report).
    2. I have no problem seeing my mum as long as it doesn’t affect my life on this side” referring to his time with his father and that “if I go to live with mum all my efforts are destroyed” (Memorandum to Court).
  9. The mother is concerned that X has no friends and is living in isolation with the father.
  10. X informed the family report writer that he has three best friends but it is noted by the family report writer that “upon exploration, he indicated that he knows his friends primarily through his (omitted) lessons but he does not see them outside of his weekly class, stating ‘if I do it’s co-incidental’. He has not had a sleepover with friends either at their home or his, stating that his friends all tend to go to sleep at 10pm, so this is why he does not sleep over. He also reported that he does not visit with friends; either at his own home or at theirs” ([50] family report).
  11. DOCS, in their interview with X, noted that he “seemed to exaggerate the difference between his mum and dad’s house” and “seemed to be trying to convince us he had lots of friends”.
  12. X has a very high opinion of the father and presents as being indebted to the father for all of the efforts he has put into educating X:-
    1. The father as “very generous, kind and loving. He does try to correct my mistakes. He’s a perfectionist in a good way. He spends lots of money and time just for me” and when asked how he knows this X replied “both he told me and I’ve worked it out” (Memorandum to Court).
    2. The father is an “extremely good man… magnanimous; he spends more money and time on me than he is supposed to, he focuses on me, he wants me to have a good career” ([51] family report).
  13. Concerns have been raised as to how aligned the child is with the father:-
    1. X presented as a very formal, somewhat pseudo-mature child” and “in my view has been inappropriately prepared for the interview with me. It was noted that a number of X’s statements and choice of words closely paralleled that of the father” (Memorandum to Court)
    2. As to the observation between the father and the child it “felt like a demonstration of their skills, rather than an observation of a natural parent-child style; it was mostly educational in nature and felt quite formal” ([66] family report).
    1. That “throughout the observation, X was noted to provide a running commentary to the Family Consultant through the one way mirror, explaining what they were doing during the observation and holding up items in the mirror to show things. At one point the father and X were noted to discuss whether they were seated would be observable to the Family Consultant” ([65] family report).

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