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

Telegraph: 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.


Additional reading

Muhammad: the restorer of family values

6 replies

  1. Britain has a broken society. This is a dark portrait but it is very true. Children are left to rot and they grew into animals. Binge drinking, drug addiction, a culture of disrespect and antisocial behavior, teenage pregnancies and abortions, knife and gun culture are part and parcel of every day life in all big city centers. The teenage pregnancies and the sheer madness of sex education teach nothing about morality. British society is suffering from unprecedented social decay and societal breakdown, according to the Children’s Society shocking evidence. Britain has more broken families than other countries. British children are rougher with each other, and live more riskily in terms of alcohol, drugs and teenage pregnancies. Britain’s rate of teenage pregnancy is the highest in Western Europe. According to official figures, nearly half of all babies are now born out of wedlock. They are more likely to suffer social, mental and emotional problems. Research has revealed that migrants in Britain are more likely to have children within marriage. The teaching of sex education could not curb teenage pregnancies. Infact, it has simply increased. This is a clear indication of broken society. It is an eye opening for the Muslim community who sends their children to state schools with non-Muslim monolingual teachers.

    In broken Britain, the break downs of family are ripping apart communities. According to a report, Scottish schools like English schools have become home for rapes, gun and knife culture, drug dealing, gang culture and racism. It is a horrendous portrayal of the collapse of civilized life and of human despair. Carrying weapons is becoming the norms, violence is “routine” and families are terrorized by gangs. Every parent is worried about his child being indoctrinated into the idea that gay and sexual promiscuity is “normal” modes of behavior. Homosexuality was regarded as mental illness but now blue eyed western educated elites are its defenders and promoters. The spectre of hidden epidemic of sex crimes inside Britain’s classrooms has emerged after Scotland Yard revealed there have been nearly 900 rapes or sex attacks in schools. The vast majority of victims were school children under the age of 16. As many as one in three were under 11. According to official figures, hundreds of children under the age of 12 were treated for addiction to drink and drugs.

    Children are being taught that sexually transmitted diseases could be easily treated and there is no acknowledgement of the emotional harm of premature sexual activity. The truth is that more sex education and contraception are provided to children and teenagers, the more they fall pregnant. Studies have shown that access to contraception and sex education, sexual activity and conception and pregnancy rates go up. The sexual health of young Londoners is a “major public health issue” and still among the worst in the country, despite innovative projects and improvements in services.

    The demand for Muslim schools comes from parents who want their children a
    safe environment with an Islamic ethos. Parents see Muslim schools where children can develop their Islamic Identity where they won’t feel stigmatised for being Muslims and they can feel confident about their faith. The significance and value of Muslim schools is that the Islamic religion imposed obligations of good citizenship, keeping the peace and paying taxes. While ambition of state school is to get children humping each other before they are out of primary school and giving them parenting classes when they are fourteen to help the girls cope with the babies they will have conceived at thirteen.

  2. Proportion of babies born in wedlock falls to new low of just 53 per cent

    Source: The Independent

    The proportion of babies born to married couples has reached a new low, making up just over half the total number of births last year.

    Though marriage remains the most common family setting for babies, the steady fall since the early 1960s has continued, dropping to 53 per cent last year from 59 per cent a decade before. In 1962, the figure was 93 per cent.

    Some 383,189 of all live births in 2012 were within a marriage or civil partnership and 346,485 were outside.

    • In addition to the above in can be said also that of course even those who do get married are usually ‘living together’ before marriage sometimes for a considerable period of time. Therefore the ‘old kind of marriage’ where one used to marry a virgin (in the West) is gone to 95% ?

  3. In fact, the whole of the so-called ‘free’ world is suffering from these kinds of vices – all in the name of ‘westernization’.

    Like in our country (Kenya), most youngsters and even young parents seem to apparently dress and behave in a westernized manner but they are that way all in the wrong manner.

    For example while they dress and behave like westerners, they, unfortunately do not imbibe the other positive values of the people they copy blindly, like keeping time, have a work ethic, professionalism, etc.

    They copy the west for all the wrong reasons!

  4. Sir Michael Wilshaw’s remarks about Britain’s ills and bad parenting are timely but it is not only Britain that is undergoing such a moral societal decay and breakdown but also the US and most of the West has had the same ailments and the epidemic can certainly ‘westoxicate’ the rest of the world. Iftikhar Ahmad ‘s response is excellent in terms of all the ailments that are shared by the ‘free’ world as a whole pointed out nicely by Raziya Mohamedali.
    Well-executed and well-targeted ECD (early child development) programs are initiators of true HD (human development). They stimulate improvements in education, health, social /spiritual capital, and equity that have both immediate and long-term benefits for the children participating in such programs. Investments in ECD programs are in many ways investments for the future of every nation and the entire human global family.

    Parenting and educating our children for a better future
    It would be helpful to clarify what we mean, and do not mean by education in the broader context here. We are referring specifically to the body of arguments, principles and practices that are promoted by the best of experts from around the world about early education of young children, mainly by parents but also in part by the teachers. The purpose of this education is to instill values, attitudes and behavior in children, and prepare them for challenges and opportunities of life long.
    In this context, According to Gulen [1] there are five top responsibilities for parents when it comes to child rearing: (1) Meeting of their physical needs; (2) Age-appropriate discipline or etiquette; (3) Moral education; faith and its practical education; (4) Justice /equality among siblings; (5) Protection from evil and the harm that may come from ill-intentioned people.
    Gulen likes to start the discussion of child rearing and education not after birth, but even before a couple enters marriage. The institution of marriage as a preparation of the learning environment for the child .It is setting forth upbringing of a desirable generation as a lofty goal for the establishment of the marriage. Consequently, choosing of a spouse by considering long-term educational goals. The emphasis on the mother as the first and foremost teacher for the child and the father as the second most important teacher. It is therefore recommended that the candidate spouse consider the educational outlook and qualities of their prospective partner as an important factor in deciding to get married.
    Another most important suggestion that just as adults we are required to go through a training course to obtain a vehicle driving license, we must also go through a course for parenting, child development and education before we can get married. As child upbringing is no less important than the safety of people on the roads, proper education for such an important duty should not be at the mercy of young, inexperienced couples.
    Rearing of children and educational practices are the means for the human species to evolve socially, emotionally, psychologically, morally and spiritually in order to surpass the current ecological and human social crises. A joint growth of adults and children, what can be called as a ‘conscious co-evolution,’ is also certainly required. As parents and teachers undergo enfoldment [2] as a whole, better nurturance and aid they can give to the children. Recent discoveries in brain science and child development, however, are forcing us to rethink these long-held flawed notions about human nature. Biologists and cognitive neuroscientists have discovered mirror-neurons–called empathy neurons–that allow us human beings to feel and experience another’s situation as if it were one’s own. We are, it appears, the most social of animals seeking attachment, bonding, compassionate participation, and companionship with our fellow humans from the cradle to grave.
    With violence, anti-social behavior, and aggression among young children escalating at a frightening rate leading to societal decay and breakdown, it is clear that we need to develop a new understanding of childhood development and early education. Many experts and educators who have worked for decades with children from all kinds of backgrounds, have discovered that the solution to violent and other anti-social behavior lies within each child’s innate sense of caring and compassion. They believe that infusing children with empathy constitutes nothing less than a new paradigm in our approach to child raising and educating.
    Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s point of view and respect their feelings. Even the most troubled children can quell violent and aggressive behavior if they are loved and nurtured through conscious rearing. Through Roots of Empathy, educational experts and neuroscientists have created a rich, rewarding information and experiences that foster empathy within children from early on. Bringing babies and children together also creates a symbiotic loving/compassionate environment that reduces aggression in children while increasing tolerance, emotional intelligence and emotional literacy. An interactive experience for parents, teachers, and children, the Roots of Empathy programs aim to solve current and future problems in our society by teaching emotional literacy early to children. In “Roots of Empathy”[3], the innovative, inspired works based on groundbreaking research and success in actual classroom situations, Mary Gordon shared her vision of a nation of compassionate and caring children who will pass on their legacy of empathy to their own children.
    There has to be a ‘common vision’ of human nature and human development up to the age twenty-one in all cultures. It is holistic and integrative. Although there are some differences, there are also similarities. Each culture describes interacting planes of existence from the physical being to the subtler life-force plane, then the higher mental plane and lastly the plane of the spirituality that is the true self within us all. Education should consider all these layers, not just the physical and intellectual layers of traditional education. [4]
    The concept of wholesome education emphasizes methods that concentrate on viewing the child as a whole person. The objective is not about how to find a good job or make big money, but about how to develop into a complete human being. Every part of the individual – mind, body, emotion and spirit, should be developed at the same time and be integrated into the whole person.
    Further, the idea of wholesome education is not only about how to make a smart person, but to make a genuinely good person and human being as well. It is not only about giving people knowledge, but also helping them to translate that knowledge into true wisdom. With integrated education, there is no division between school and society, study and human life, knowledge and goodness.
    It is now being generally recognized that appreciation of the relation of the whole to the part was central to understanding reality. Relatedness is basic. Nothing is in isolation anymore. All things depend upon on each other. Everything in the world is in one way or the other connected with every other thing. Everything is a part of the whole and that emphasizes the importance of wholeness and relationship. This is certainly applicable to education as well. The nature is alive which enables us to look at both of physical and biological sciences from a unique perspective. In this view, the children are alive. The body contains both the mental and physical attributes of unified experience. There is no separation of mind and body in this realm; the body includes the mental state. That mental state-the mind, perception, and reasoning-is our concern as parents and educators. Children and students do not present to us isolated minds or bodies but themselves as integrated human beings whose relations in the world are experiences of living organism on the living planet.

    It urges us to turn away from Cartesian philosophy and, instead, to think of the whole in relation to the parts and the parts in relation to the whole. A child viewed from a process perspective is a student viewed holistically.

    Teachers do not confront a mind, or a body, or cognition, or affect, but a totality; learners bring their whole being to the learning. To be brief, the idea of wholesome education is based on the fact Global society needs global education that should be based on the concept of integrated education.
    One of the most important considerations is that we are presently living in a global society. The whole earth is becoming a small global village. Our schools globally are becoming obsolete by any standards for today’s globalizing world. Western schools were built on the needs of western civilization in the past three centuries; Eastern schools were built on the needs of Eastern civilizations’ previous several centuries. But today we are no longer a western civilization or Eastern civilizations – we are now heading towards a global civilization of love, tolerance and Empathy.
    Therefore, communications among different cultures and races are more important than ever before. Our global school systems should teach our children to know, understand and appreciate other cultures and each other.
    Unfortunately, in our schools children are more likely to be learning about a world that no longer exists. Knowledge is power; ignorance is oppression. We are oppressed if we don’t know, understand, and appreciate our neighbors around the world. We need this knowledge to understand why they act the way they do, what they believe in, and what they consider to be important. Clearly, simply studying cultures is not enough. Kids must appreciate those cultures. Teachers must become the translators of cultural differences. A child from any nation in the world may be in their classroom tomorrow, and different cultures are just down the street. We need to teach our children to celebrate diversity and the creative human spirit. This theory can be helpful to educators worldwide in their quest for educational reform.
    In actuality, every country and culture has its own educational system. These individual systems met the needs of the single culture but are not enough for today’s global society. This is one of reasons why some American educators said, “We are the richest nation in the world, but yet we have a failing school system.” (American Schools Need Reform by Pamela Jordan Lee, February 2, 2001).
    The global society of today needs a new educational system; one based on the concept of wholesome education. The modernism and its educational system have caused a number of social problems. This is another important reason why we need educational reform and wholesome education. The modern educational systems – including both Western and Eastern systems – have failed in many ways and have caused many problems in our societies. Before moving to this, we would briefly like to discuss the concept of modern education. Modern education has its roots in seventeenth and eighteenth century science and has had a significant influence on Western society. Not only are we surrounded by technology developed from scientific research; we are also educated, persuaded, and required to adopt and utilize the methods of science to solve social, business, and personal problems. The notion that science and technology can solve all problems is well established in western and many Eastern cultures. Many people, including most educators from around the globe, believe that science and technology can solve all the world’s problems. Knowledge is power. The modern educational system is based on this belief and has focused giving students knowledge and equipping them to find jobs. Development of human creativity and spirituality along with translating knowledge into wisdom has been largely ignored. Thus the principal goal of education – making a whole person was lost and replaced by a system of job training. The students became passive receivers of knowledge.
    Our inner change shifts our outer reality. As we change to what attracts our inner core, we start making better choices, day by day progressing toward whatever better life we imagine. Looking back after months or years, noticing how we’ve changed and our world has changed; we call this a miraculous accomplishment. Such practical steps are what we need now to create a sustainable globally integrated civilization of love, tolerance and empathy. We believe “civilization” is the story of humanity learning to accept responsibility for human free will. If we parents and educators raise and educate our children right and we live our lives sensibly, we’d need no high government to control our lowest impulses. If each one of us heeded our conscience and reason, we’d barely need any government at all in the future. The laws of nature — natural law should be governing us eventually. Gulen’s social global movement (thought and practice), in the universal, cross-cultural dialogue and educational context is raising a new renaissance generation that is gradually evolving towards a global civilization of love tolerance and empathy. [5]


    [1] Aslandogan Y. Alp, Pedagogical Model of Gulen and Modern Theories of Learning, 04 May 2006, Gulen’s website
    [2] Clarke, R. (2004); Unfolding pattern of human development. Northern Michigan University. Retrieved December 2004 pp.1-80.
    [3] Mary Gordon (2005, 2007 and 2009) Roots of Empathy; Changing the World Child by Child.
    [4] Clare, W Graves (1974). Leap. The Futurist magazine.
    [5] Carroll, J. (2007) A Dialogue of Civilizations. Gülen’s Islamic Ideals and Humanistic Discourse (NJ: The Light, Inc.)

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