Kirk’s eight-armed gimmick comes under fire

The Kirk believes the octopus will give youngsters a helping hand.
The Kirk believes the octopus will give youngsters a helping hand.
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Campaigners opposed to the Named Person initiative have hit out at the latest “bizarre” creation to explain the controversial scheme – Calamari SHANARRI, the wellbeing octopus.

Children are being urged to knit the octopus and make up stories and rhymes about it as part of the Scottish Government’s Getting It Right For Each Child (GIRFEC) scheme, which includes the Named Person initiative.

Each of the octopus’s legs represents one of a child’s eight well-being indicators, which are also referred to in the Shanarri part of the name – Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible, and Included.

The octopus has been developed by Crossreach, the Church of Scotland Social Care Council, for the GIRFEC scheme and to teach children to become confident, productive and responsible members of society.

But a spokesperson for No to Named Person (NO2NP), which challenged the Named Person scheme in court, said: “Calamari SHANARRI” is the latest in a long line of bizarre resources relating to GIRFEC – the policy behind Named Persons.

“It’s littered with jargon and recommends strange activities for young children which will be far beyond the understanding of most of them.

“During the court battle over Named Persons, Aidan O’Neill QC told Supreme Court judges that the legislation was so confusing, it was like ‘wrestling with an octopus’. It looks like whoever dreamt up this latest wheeze decided to take that literally.”

A Scottish Government spokesman described the octopus as a “useful” addition to GIRFEC materials. A Church of Scotland spokesperson said the octopus was a “playful way to learn about the Scottish Government’s aspirations for children in Scotland”.

The spokesperson added: “Supporting children and their families to have the best possible chances in life is an important part of our work.”