Scottish Daily Mail

‘Your kids are plants... and state snooper’s head gardener ’

Parents fear ‘tattie howker’ status

- By Mark Howarth

CHILDREN being taught about the SNP’s controvers­ial Named Person scheme have been told to think of themselves as plants – and their state guardian as the ‘head gardener’.

Pupils as young as five have been given workshops on what the policy will mean for them when it comes into force in August.

Critics insist it amounts to a snoopers’ charter, allowing interferin­g officials to pry into family life.

But children in primary schools across the country have been encouraged to think of themselves as growing in the ground and in need of nurturing.

Lesson plans refer to the Named Person as the ‘head gardener’, relegating all other adults – including mothers and fathers – to the role of workers in the state guardian’s team.

Last night, campaigner­s claimed parents were being represente­d as little more than ‘tattie howkers’.

Simon Calvert of the group No 2 Named Person, which is spearheadi­ng a legal challenge to the scheme, said: ‘If parents are just one “gardener” among many and the Named Person is the “head gardener”, it’s quite clear who is ultimately in charge.

‘We need to know if the First Minister endorses the descriptio­n of Named Persons as “head gardener” in the lives of Scotland’s children. If that is Government policy, then the mums and dads of more than a million children are in danger of being reduced to tattie howkers in their own homes.’

The latest revelation­s have come to light in Scottish Government documents dealing with the introducti­on of the Named Person scheme. They show that the Children’s Parliament charity was commission­ed by ministers to ‘engage with primary school age children’. More than 100 pupils from six primary schools took part in the two-day workshops.

As a way of considerin­g the scheme, children were asked to imagine Scotland as a garden and each and every child as a unique and special plant growing in it.

It adds: ‘This allowed children to consider what each plant would need to grow and thus the care children need and the important role of adults in providing this.’

The document explains how the workshops had helped children to identify the Named Person, or ‘head gardener’, as ‘someone to go to – for children and parents’.

Scottish Conservati­ve young people spokesman Liz Smith said: ‘This is a bizarre analogy which highlights everything that is wrong with the Named Person legislatio­n. The policy should be scrapped.’

From August, every child up to the age of 18 will be assigned a Named Person, who is charged with monitoring youngsters’ ‘wellbeing’. The scheme, which is already running in some of the country, gives state guardians powers to pry into family life and share informatio­n gleaned with other authoritie­s.

Pre-school, a child’s Named Person will be a health visitor, with teachers filling the role thereafter.

An SNP spokesman said: ‘The Named Person policy is aimed at protecting children’s well-being. It is about supporting, not diminishin­g, the role of parents.

‘The policy has also been upheld by the highest court in Scotland, including a ruling which said the policy had “no effect whatsoever on the legal, moral or social relationsh­ips within the family”.’

Comment – Page 16

‘Quite clear who is ultimately in charge’

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