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

Families where parents no longer “take responsibility” for teaching their children “right and wrong” are at the root of Britain’s biggest problems, the man overseeing the education of millions of pupils has claimed. This is from the Telegraph

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”…

Sir Michael claimed that, even in cases where children had died, social services chiefs should not be sacked necessarily because the resulting turmoil was making matters worse…

Sir Michael warned that the social work profession was haemorrhaging expertise, with morale near an all-time low and a looming “demographic time bomb” as a large number of staff near retirement. He also said “incompetent and ineffective” chiefs should be driven out, adding that many child safeguarding boards that monitor them were “not worth the name”.

But he claimed the heart of problems such as child abuse ran deeper than social services departments.

“This is also about society taking a view about where it stands on the social issues which contribute to family dysfunction and risk to children,” he said.

“Abuse and neglect do not happen randomly, they are the product of social breakdown.” He cited figures that showed 100,000 children were being raised by people addicted to hard drugs.

But Sir Michael said many children were “alienated” from their natural father and that this lay at the root of the wider problems.

“Some people will tell you that social breakdown is the result of material poverty. It’s more than this,” he added.

“These children lack more than money: they lack parents who take responsibility for seeing them raised well. It is this poverty of accountability which costs them.

“These children suffer because they are not given clear rules or boundaries, have few secure or safe attachments at home, and little understanding of the difference between right and wrong behaviour.”…

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

See also: Child protection is inadequate at one in seven councils in England, says Ofsted

Please share your thoughts on these strong comments from Sir Michael Wilshaw in our comments section below or via twitter…

Child protection is inadequate at one in seven councils in England, says Ofsted
Free schools are dangerous ideological experiment, says Tristram Hunt
Categories: Parenting.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Whether you agree of disagree, these statements will annoy a lot of people and mirror previous statements about schools

  2. nwinton

    SchoolsImprove I think a morally bankrupt country with systemic demonising of the poor and helpless is more to blame than parents.

  3. Sezzer64

    SchoolsImprove he is right but there is too much pandering to them and pussy footing around to avoid hurt feelings #timetogettough

  4. mikeondigital

    cherrylkd SchoolsImprove about time someone spotted it wasn’t teachers fault, but parents (being a parent and teacher myself )

  5. MinoHedgehog

    nwinton SchoolsImprove I see your point. It’s a society issue. We should all give something back. Less blame, more civic mindedness.

  6. MinoHedgehog

    LearnWLesley SchoolsImprove True. What can we all do to improve things? That shld be the next question. More volunteers? More patience?

  7. nwinton

    MinoHedgehog SchoolsImprove Absolutely. There is an acknowledged correlation between social deprivation and academic failure. (Eg:OECD)

  8. mikeondigital

    cherrylkd SchoolsImprove as a parent I’m happy to be responsible for my child’s behaviour so they behave in school not other way round

  9. nwinton

    MinoHedgehog SchoolsImprove I think I’m going to be voting Yes in #indyref next year. I can see no other way to improve things for the…

  10. nwinton

    MinoHedgehog SchoolsImprove …poor and disenfranchised. Scotland has the opportunity to lead by example with the Commonweal 🙂

  11. MinoHedgehog

    nwinton Neil, your witty remarks have made me smile on such gloomy day (compounded by gloomy news). Seriously though, there must be a way

  12. hylandmccabe

    I like the concept of an accountability poverty; it’s true. But, it’s not just ‘poor parents’ that have to take responsibilities for issues surrounding children in our society. Has Wilshaw had much to do with parents from other classes and their lack of belief that their precious offspring could do anything wrong?!

  13. MinoHedgehog

    nwinton yes! Plus help for parents and kids. In the w/end I found out that in the Netherlands school books are going to be free soon

  14. BehaviourA

    The demoralising effect of being ‘poor’ is so often misunderstood. Not just about having fewer material things. It’s the being looked down on, not having access to stimulating events/ experiences/ broadband, being scruffier than your peers that takes it’s toll. Hard to remain positive and outward looking when basic needs barely met and those you spend most time with disappointed and angry with their situation.

  15. nwinton

    MinoHedgehog Interesting. All the schools I’ve worked in (4 main ones) issue the textbooks to learners. Maybe that’s just a Scottish thing?

  16. kennygfrederick

    SchoolsImprove -Its not often I agree with Sir Michael but he is right on this one! Stop blaming social workers & teachers etc …….

  17. thejollyteacher

    kennygfrederick SchoolsImprove Totally agree everyone has a role to play Kenny. I don’t think a devise blame game is solution though

  18. kennygfrederick

    thejollyteacher SchoolsImprove – agreed! Blame is unhelpful but is heaped on SWs. Its only when there is tragedy that people take notice.

  19. ChanTweeters

    GrahamBett I’m not sure this justifies the theory of parenting and poverty – there is more pressure from society than anything else!

  20. thejollyteacher

    kennygfrederick SchoolsImprove blame is a cultural disease right now. its a stand back and point culture. We need more kennys!

  21. LaCatholicState

    Bad parenting is certainly a factor….as are absent fathers, divorce and single parenthood.  But mean-minded social workers encourage these….and never condemn them.  So they are part of the problem too.
    The 2 parent family is the sanctuary for Children…..and parents must be reminded again and again that their primary duty is to their children….nothing else.  And no state agency….be they social workers or teachers must ever undermine the role of parents and family.  Parents must always be called up to love and care for their children.

  22. LaCatholicState

    @kennygfrederick SchoolsImprove 
    If social workers didn’t portray themselves as know-it-alls and saviours of society….nobody would blame them.  They undermine the family all the time. 
    We should by-pass, inadequate social workers and in cases of suspected child-abuse….call the police, as you would for an adult.  No second class service for children in danger please..

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