The Webmag focused on creative writing in this issue.
Phil Carradice gave advice about ways of encouraging children to write in order to express themselves and use writing as a way of framing things that matter to them. He mentioned objects and other people’s writing as stimuli, though personally Phil found the publisher’s deadline the most persuasive prompt to creativity.
Barbara O’Grady spoke about improving literacy in residential child care as a way of helping looked after children succeed, having herself lived in care and having since achieved a couple of degrees.
The need to resolve problems and to overcome illiteracy both remain important, and so is creative writing. We offered a prize that month to the best piece sent in to us. We are not offering a prize now, but we would still be pleased to publish creative writing on issues concerning children and childcare.
In this issue Matthew Payne was getting cross about the lack of recognition to social care workers, Rowan Dickman was complaining at the low priority given to children compared with fox-hunting, Jim Hyland was bemoaning the demise of the approved school system and the lack of subsequent direction for children services, and Terry Hoon was looking at sleep patterns.
Meanwhile, Keith White looked at security – both the emotional and the physical sorts. David Blunkett, then Home Secretary, had been promoting “secure foster care”, until he had had the ambiguity of his phrase pointed out to him. Keith pointed out that therapeutic residential establishments had been offering security to emotionally damaged children for decades, without getting the recognition they deserved.
“It takes a village to raise a child” was Keith White’s headline, and he contrasted the life-style of London, where people litter the streets and have to accompany their children to school, with Switzerland, where no-one would think of dropping litter and the community takes responsibility for children’s safety.
Keith argued his case well, but he’s not the first to have made the point, so our choice for this month is Terry Hoon’s apology to children abused in care, as we have never seen anyone else say, “Sorry” to them. More’s the pity.
The Webmag has been going for nearly 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.