Home-school children should be on register after boy dies of scurvy, says report

A register of all children being "home-schooled" should be set up after the death of an eight-year-old boy from scurvy, a new report recommended today.

Dylan Seabridge died at his family's isolated farmhouse after having no direct contact with doctors, nurses and teachers from the age of 13 months.

His parents thought Dylan was suffering from growing pains - but he was actually dying of scurvy.

The rare disease is caused by a deficiency of vitamin C and is almost unheard of in modern societies.

The independent review report set up by the Welsh Government called for a compulsory register of home-taught children.

Dylan was being home-schooled by his parents in the isolated home in the village of Eglwyswrw, Pembrokeshire.

The report accepts have the right to educate their child at home rather than at school - and that home education was not in itself a risk factor for abuse or neglect.

But it stressed there was potential for children to become "invisible".

Parents Julie and Glynn Seabridge were charged with neglect but the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the case in 2014, and not guilty verdicts were entered.

The parents also disputed an inquest ruling that their son died from scurvy, a rare condition caused by lack of vitamin C. They said they did not believe he had scurvy and thought he was suffering from growing pains.

The report said they chose not to engage with the child practice review, and it was "their strongly held view that the review should not go ahead".

Author Gladys Rhodes White said that the current legislation is in "stark contrast" to the Welsh Government's commitment to the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.

It is particularly poignant that in conducting this review we have no sense whatsoever of this child. Who was he, what did he like, what were his thoughts and aspirations?. There is a total lack of information on him other than very limited glimpses gleaned from the information presented by the family. It is tragic that there are many references that the child was 'invisible'."

Report author Gladys Rhodes White