Secretary of State Michael Gove said:
It is beyond anyone’s comprehension that a child could die under such tragic circumstances. It is extremely difficult to prevent random and isolated incidents of violence against children, but the tragedy is that Khyra Ishaq endured a painful abuse over many months and eventually died, and this could and should have been prevented. Today’s Serious Case Review confirms that all the agencies in Birmingham failed to protect this vulnerable child.
I welcome Birmingham County Council’s action to publish the first Serious Case Review in full and the openness and transparency it brings. The Coalition Government has been clear that one of the first things we would do is enable the publication of full SCRs so that they are meaningful documents and the truth is not hidden from the public. If we are to learn from SCRs the right people must access the full information to see where professionals should have intervened, could have made informed decisions and how such tragic deaths can be avoided in the future.
We have asked Professor Eileen Munro to examine how findings from SCRs on such tragic incidents can be strengthened further so that the publication of the SCR makes a real impact on practice in the front line.
On home education, Michael Gove said:
We respect the right of parents to educate their children at home and most do a very good job, some of them picking up the pieces where children have had problems at school. We strongly encourage local authorities to develop a positive relationship with their home-educating community.
We note the views of the Birmingham LCSB about the law as it applies to home-educated children and we are aware of the very strong views held by local authorities and by home-educating parents on this matter. Clearly lessons need to be learned by the tragic events in this case, and I will consider the letter I expect to receive from Birmingham shortly, to see what changes need to be made to the existing arrangements and reply in due course.