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To think that if you want to claim benefits your children should have to attend school

(71 Posts)
foreverondiet Sun 02-Mar-14 17:21:26

I have just come across a number of people who have left an extreme religious cult / sect (not really relevant what religion).

What shocked me was that the person I spoke to has had to as an adult learn english, and he told me that he was brought up as one of 11 children in a household where neither parent worked (and lived of benefits).

Ok so far, but my problem is that they denied their children a secular education - basically private but legal religious schools for primary (with bare minimum allowed for secular education), and illegal schools for secondary, with basically no secular education at all - inspectors told either that the children where being home schooled or that they were at school abroad. Some children in the sect as very low performing private (but legal) schools just do the absolute secular education they can get away with.

He is working as a labourer (and not claiming any benefits - he has left the sect), but ideally he would like to get some GCSEs / A levels / college - so to improve earnings potential. I felt a bit sad for him that he had endured this sort of abuse - he told me its still continuing - 9 of his siblings have stayed in the sect and doing the same with their children. If anyone works its part time in low paid work due to lack skills. He thought that one of the reasons for the lack of education and the lack of english was to make it so hard to leave.

AIBU to feel very angry about this? Obviously don't think these people should lose benefits but surely ridiculous they can claim benefits including housing benefits whilst choosing to send their children to private (and often illegal) schools.

AnnieLobeseder Sun 02-Mar-14 17:24:47

YANBU to think that religious folk should brainwash their children to the extent that they are unable to function in society. I don't think religion should ever be an excuse to live outside society and all children should be required to have a fully secular education (this includes my belief that all faith schools should be abolished).

But I fail to see how benefits come into it.

JakeBullet Sun 02-Mar-14 17:27:56

I think what you are touching on here is sad, I am certain many parents home school for very good reasons and claim benefits because they have to. For example if a child struggles in school due to a phobia etc.

What you are describing here is abusive behaviours designed to keep children from straying or having the skills to question what they are being told. sad

Obviously the beliefs HAVE been questioned because you are dealing with a man who has got away....has he been cut off by the rest of the sect?

LetZygonsbeZygons Sun 02-Mar-14 17:31:34

I live on benefits. I used to work F/T before DC.

DC is disabled, particularly mentally. She cannot cope in schools, and weve tried. Schools cannot cope with her.

aside from school Ive had to be a fulltime 24/7 carer for her for her mental and physical disabilities.

I home school her now and we both love it, its MUCH easier for both of us.

I am also disabled and will have to be the rest of our lives on some form of benefits.

uselessinformation Sun 02-Mar-14 17:31:40

Yanbu about cults etc. but the UK is not a secular country and there is no such thing as a secular education in the UK so I don't understand what you are trying to say there.

lljkk Sun 02-Mar-14 17:35:21

presumably they'd be in even more poverty without benefits? the children would suffer most for that.
I don't criticise your anger, but not sure benefits is right way to redress.

Dawndonnaagain Sun 02-Mar-14 17:35:24

As others have said, you are not being unreasonable about cults and the culture therein. With regard to benefits however, sorry but you are being completely unreasonable. I say this as someone who has been on benefits and has home educated. At the time it was important for ASD son. He did eventually go back into (a different) school, but he needed the time at home, as did one of my dds, also ASD. The benefits are irrelevant and any cult will always find a way round things.

Adikia Sun 02-Mar-14 17:37:01

There is no excuse for not teaching children the skills they need to function and YANBU to say the children should be given an education (although not necessarily school, a decent level of home education would be just as good) but I don't think benefits really come into it, the way they are raising their children would be just as disturbing to me if both parents were working full time to fund it.

BillyBanter Sun 02-Mar-14 17:37:13

i'm not sure where benefits come into it.

Is it ok to deliver an inadequate education if you are not on benefits?

foreverondiet Sun 02-Mar-14 17:38:23

I guess I feel that benefits come into it, as the current behaviors are only possible due to the benefits system - basically they believe "God will provide" and currently He does in respect of the benefits system.

In terms of faith schools, well the best chance these children of having a decent secular education would be in state faith schools where a certain amount of time would be set aside for secular subjects. Abolishing state schools would mean even more would be home schooled (and hence not receive an education) because they wouldn't agree to send their children under any circumstances to a school where the children had to mix with people from outside their sect.

Yes the man I spoke to has got away (along with another brother) and has been totally cut off by sect and family. He said only one of his 9 siblings spoke to him, and even then only on phone in secret not in person.

Yes the sect said internet use is evil and so they all brainwashed so don't have skills to question. Lack of english and use of special language thats basically only spoken by their sect help perpetuate this. I guess the sect accept that a very small percentage with get away. Yes its abusive, but can't see social services getting involved.

mercibucket Sun 02-Mar-14 17:39:39

why not repost this with a different angle
benefits just dont come into it

Rooners Sun 02-Mar-14 17:40:23

I'm sorry but I don't think that you are on the right track here.

The problem is not in their claiming benefits. It lies elsewhere - so I think you are focusing on the wrong aspect of the situation really.

There are a lot of home edders on benefit afaik and I don't see the problem with that in general terms.

NeedsAsockamnesty Sun 02-Mar-14 17:41:35

YANBU to think that all children shoud have an education,and the law agrees with you.

YABU to think that needs to happen in a school.

Child abuse and law breaking has fuck all to do with benefits or even home education.

WooWooOwl Sun 02-Mar-14 17:43:21

YANBU to be angry at the fact that this guy has not had a decent education, and YANBU to be angry that he has been brought up in a healthy but workless household.

But the two issues are unrelated. Even if a family didn't claim benefits, it would not be ok for them to deny their children a decent education.

Lottiedoubtie Sun 02-Mar-14 17:43:29

I don't think the problem here is benefits.

The parents lied to the authorities saying that they were homeschooling when they were in fact sending to illegal schools that were not teaching appropriately to the needs of the pupils.

That's the problem that the authorities need to address, not benefits.

Abbierhodes Sun 02-Mar-14 17:46:13

I think there are 2 issues here.

I think the OP has a point about benefits providing the means to live like this, but that's part of a bigger picture I think, about whether benefits should be possible as a lifestyle choice. If there was a way to ensure that benefits were only available to those who couldn't work, then surely this situation wouldn't arise? Though I don't have the answer as to how we do that- sift out the few 'scroungers' without penalising those who truly need help.

On the topic of whether this lack of education should be allowed- YADNBU!

foreverondiet Sun 02-Mar-14 17:48:08

Rooners - yes you are right, home schooling isn't a problem per se plenty of people give their children a good education at home, just this sect hide behind the right to home education at as a means to deny their children a secular education (think here of adults with no special education needs only learning maths to around year 2 standard, and english even further behind as they aren't taught in english).

I do feel benefits are behind it a bit, due to the very high birth rate, and arranged marriages within the sect - this lifestyle is only made possible to to benefits. Made me angry that this young man was denied an education by parents who brought him up on state benefits.

Vibrissa Sun 02-Mar-14 17:48:24

I too can't see that benefits have much to do with it.

It's something that needs to be reported to the LA so that they can investigate

Adikia Sun 02-Mar-14 17:50:22

OP, state school is not the only option for education, it would be perfectly possible for the sect to set up a private school which is properly monitored or to home educate as a group and provide a decent education, there are plenty of home educated children who are receiving a better education than they might at a school. I can see where you are coming from but the real issue here is the lack of checking the children's education, simply saying the child is home educated is not enough as someone should then be checking what the child is being taught.

NeedsAsockamnesty Sun 02-Mar-14 17:51:12

The law states that children must be provided with an education.

This mans parents/caregivers broke the law.

What's left to debate?

NeedsAsockamnesty Sun 02-Mar-14 17:53:18


It is not legal for anybody to check what a home educated child is being taught unless the LA have good reason to believe they are not being educated.

ReallyTired Sun 02-Mar-14 17:54:06

Are you objecting to people being on benefits or people home educating. If someone is on job seeker's allowance then they are actively required to be looking for work as the present law stands. If family chooses home education then they need to find a way of financially supporting the parent who stays at home. I don't know a single home educating family that lived on benefits. In my experience most home educating families have one parent who works and one parent who stays at home. Sometimes both parents work part time.

I think that home education needs to be more closely regulated to prevent extreme religious cults cutting their children off from the world or child abuse. I am not sure what the best way of regulating home education is. I would like to see the home education community come up with ideas for self regulation.

foreverondiet Sun 02-Mar-14 17:55:54

Adikia the girls schools in these sects tend to be private and legal. But the secular education is still often sub standard, schools often do the minimum they can legally get away with. The caregivers wouldn't be breaking the law but still some element of abuse going on.

But yes the problem is much worse for the boys. But presumably its not illegal to send them overseas for secondary school (and then still claim benefits?)

LizLemonOut Sun 02-Mar-14 18:08:24

I think its very odd that, of all tur potential issues here, you pick up on the benefits claiming. Surely that's the least worst part?

LizLemonOut Sun 02-Mar-14 18:08:40

*the, not tur

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