The Webmag has been going for over seven years now, and we must have published over a thousand articles. Who refers to the musty piles of back numbers of hard copy magazines?
The Webmag articles are all there at the touch of the Back Issues button. Modern technology makes them available. But unless you are using a search engine, you might not think of rooting through our past issues, and if you are a new reader, you certainly won’t remember the pieces when they came out.
There are some really good articles published years ago but still worth looking at, and this column pinpoints a few of them.
In this issue, Keith White wrote Of Policies and Practice, (presumably intending to write further contributions about cabbages and kings). Essentially, he was critical of blanket policies which were drafted so that they got in the way of meeting the needs of individuals or minorities, and of policies which set standards so demanding that they resulted in inaction, defeating their objectives. It is a well argued polemic, demonstrating clearly the problem of unintended consequences.
In the same issue we welcomed the appointment of the new Minister for Children, then Margaret Hodge. As the Editorial recounts, she was to be the political head of the new Children and Families Directorate at the DfES, covering things such as Sure Start and Connexions. Although this was only four years ago, there was no mention of Every Child Matters, which is now such a key part of the scene. How time flies.
When preparing this column, we come across all sorts of articles which we had forgotten about. It is a bit like browsing in a bookshop, and of course, one of the positive points about a Webmag is that it is all there, waiting to be read or read again, while the hard copy magazines are mustering on a shelf or long gone to the recycling bin and turned into cardboard cartons.
On this occasion, our choice is Richard Rollinson’s rambling speech called The Value Added Task, in which he took a positive look at the strengths of residential care. It is a longish read, but it is full of insights, stories about children with problems and bons mots, and well worth the time spent on it.
And incidentally, Keith White wrote Of Swallows and Amazons, not cabbages and kings.
This month’s choice is The Formation and Management of Team Working, a paper given by Dr Patrick Tissington of Aston University at one of the York Group days organised by Professor Ewan Anderson. He had found that the main stressors at work were not produced by the children, but colleagues, and so team working was proposed to overcome the negative effect of poor working relationships. He offered a practical and sensible approach. Try it.