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goodenoughcaring.com is an arena for the discussion of  issues of interest to parents, foster parents, residential child care workers, counsellors, youth support workers, social workers, teachers, mentors, social pedagogues,  educateurs  and to young people who are, and adults who have been, in care. If you are interested in, or involved in the care,upbringing and education of  children and young people or in the nurturing of children and young people who are unable to live with their own families  goodenoughcaring.com  is a site for you. The website welcomes  thoughtful views – personal, practical or theoretical –  about the care of children and young people.  If you want to comment about  child care or about goodenoughcaring.com  then  e mail:  goodenoughcaring@icloud.com

The goodenoughcaring.com site is archived at the British Library.

The goodenoughcaring journal is an online publication which invites anyone wishing to publish papers and articles about  parenting, nurture, child care work and related fields or those wishing to write about their child care experiences to submit as e mail attachments  papers or articles for publication to the editors at goodenoughcaring@icloud.com.

The members of the editorial group are Cynthia Cross, Evelyn Daniel, Siobain Degregorio, Jeremy Millar, Jane Kenny, Ariola Vishnja, Mark Smith, John Stein and Charles Sharpe. The current issue was published online on 18th, June, 2014 and  the next issue will be published on December 15th,  2014. The Journal index can be found at http://www.goodenoughcaring.com/the-journal/

Bertrand Russell on parental love

“Not only must children not be commanded to love their parents, but nothing must be done which has this result as their object. Parental affection, at its best, differs from sex love in this respect. It is of essence of sex love to seek a response, as is natural,since without a response, it cannot fulfil its biological function. But it is not the essence of parent love to seek a purpose.”

Bertrand Russell, 1951



Russell, B. (1926) On Education    London, Unwin Books (1964,  p104)


What’s happened to childhood ?

This is a link to the video-cast of a Gresham College lecture What’s happened to childhood? delivered in February, 2014, by Professor Hugh Cunningham of the University of Kent .

greshamIn our current social, cultural, political and economic climate, some may feel that the underlying themes of the presentation have ever increasing pertinence.  You can watch and listen to Professor Cunningham  : here


Parental love in the 21st century : something to ponder.

“One of the difficulties attending parental love in our cultural moment is that the child, and first of all, the baby, has become the focus all so much expert know –how alongside so many redemptive hopes. Bringing up children now often seems to require a concentration of programmatic activity and consumerist expenditure so intense that love can flip into frustration and disappointment, though this may have Little to do with the child’s own individuality. The pleasures of love too often seem to have been displaced by a work and a production ethic in which parental achievement is judged by effort and by the honed product at its ever receding terminus.”

From All About Love Anatomy of an Unruly Emotion by Lisa Appignanesi (p289, 2011).

Limbus Lecture : Kid’s Company: Multi-Disciplinary Approaches to Working with Children and Young People by Jocylene Quenelle


On Saturday, September 19th, 2015  the next Limbus Lecture, Kid’s Company: Multi-disciplinary Approaches to Working with Children and Young People will be given by Jocylene Quenelle along with Lizzie Smosarksi.

It will take place at Studio 3, The Space, Dartington Hall, nr. Totnes, Devon.

Those attending are asked to arrive from 10am for a 10.30 start. Proceedings will finish at about  1pm.  The cost is £20. For further details of the presentation You can download a flyer here.
You can book your place in advance through the website www.limbus.org.uk.

Future Events 2015/16 – Dates for your diary
Nov 14             Stephen Roundhill                    Neuropsychology in context
Feb 27             Otto Rheinschmeidt                  On Dreams
May 21             Margaret Landale                     Attunement & Empathy
Sep 17              Sally Sales                             TBA

‘Balint’ case discussion group for teachers


Jo Fogel, a group-analytic psychotherapist has written to us about an invitation she is sending out to teachers to become members of a Balint-type case discussion group for teachers.

Jo writes : Michael Balint developed this kind of group for GPs to help them think about patients who concerned them. The model lends itself well to other professionals – including teachers. Here is a good introduction and description of a Balint group and what is involved. Just substitute ‘teacher’ for ‘doctor’ and ‘pupil’ for ‘patient’.

The group will be co-led by a teacher and me, a psychotherapist. It will be held monthly on Tuesday evenings at the Tavistock Centre in NW London, five minutes walk from Swiss Cottage tube station. The dates up until March are:

Autumn Term – 29.9.15, 27.10.15, 24.11.15, 22.12.15

Spring Term – 26.1.16, 23.2.16, 22.3.16

Each group session will last for 1.5 hours, beginning at 7.30 p.m. or 8 p.m. (to be confirmed) and will have up to 12 members.


The group is ongoing and the fee for each session is £20, payable termly in advance.


You don’t need previous experience of this way of working but a curiosity about it is desirable. The content of discussion will be kept confidential.


If you are interested in becoming a member, please do contact me to discuss further any aspect of the above.


Joan Fogel

Group-analytic psychotherapist


07887 545 703

Issue 17 of the goodenoughcaring Journal “The Mulberry Bush Issue” is now online !


The new issue of the goodenoughcaring Journal is now online. This is our Mulberry Bush Issue which we publish  as a celebration and recognition of the work of the Mulberry Bush School and Organisation since 1948. This issue also considers the current work of the “The Bush” as it continues with new endeavours. In this part of the new issue  John Diamond the CEO of the Mulberry Bush provides an introduction to the Mulberry Bush articles  before offering Reflections on the development of the Mulberry Bush,1948-2015,  John Turberville explains  The Mulberry Bush ApproachCaryn Onions writes A multi disciplinary case studyAnnabelle Rose looks at the role of psychodynamic theory in the therapeutic care of children while Zoe McCarthy  considers  The role of play in the development of traumatised children. Andy Lole proposes Integrating Ofsted into a truly school led system, Dave Roberts writes about The Mulberry Bush Training and outreach team and Ray Burrows  explains the  MBOX and illustrates it with an outreach case study.

The second part of this  issue is an  array of sensitive, thoughtful, reflective, and sensitive articles. Siobain Degregorio offers an additional article about her experience of student placement at the Mulberry Bush. Jennie Bristow gives us her article Helicopters or hands off: today’s parents can’t seem to win and Maurice Fenton stresses the importance of Doing the Right Thing for Children in Care and Support Seekers, and John Molloy gives more of his penetrating reflections on the  historic troubles of Irish child care in his article The Habit of Abuse. 

Michael J. Marlowe writes about Building Relationships with Troubled Children: Insights from Torey Hayden, while John Stein suggests Experience is the Best Teacher, Horse whisperer Bethlehem Taylor remembers A Cockney Childhood in the East End Of London :1945-1960  and Charles Sharpe reviews Inequality, Poverty, Education A Political Economy of School Exclusion by Francesca Ashurst and Couze Venn and, Leading Good Care: the task, heart and art of managing social care by John Burton.

We believe Issue 17 of the goodenoughcaring Journal is a very special one and  we hope you find something of interest to you in it.

‘The Mulberry Bush Issue’ of the goodenoughcaring Journal pilots speedily towards its July 1st, 2015, haven.



The Mulberry Bush issue of the goodenoughcaring Journal is piloting speedily towards its July 1st, 2015, haven.

John Diamond has provided us with an up to date inventory of the homeward bound Mulberry Bush cargo.  John Diamond  considers the Mulberry Bush’s cargo manifest  with An Introduction and supplies his  Reflections on the development of the Mulberry Bush,1948-2015John Turberville signals The Mulberry Bush approachCaryn Onions unfurls A multi disciplinary case study, Annabelle Rose charts The role of psychodynamic theory, Zoe McCarthy  fathoms The role of play in the development of traumatised children, Andy Lole gives a bearing on  Developing a peer review network,   Dave Roberts enters a log about The Mulberry Bush Training and outreach team and Ray Burrows  opens up  An MBOX outreach case study.

Siobain Degregorio offers an additional article about her experience of student placement at the Mulberry Bush.

We are grateful to all those involved with the Mulberry Bush Organisation for allowing us reflect upon and celebrate the history and the work of ‘The Bush.’

Other items of cargo in the manifest of the 17th issue of the goodenoughcaring Journal include Jennie Bristow’s Helicopters or hands off: today’s parents can’t seem to winMaurice Fenton’s Doing the Right Thing for Children in Care and Support Seekers, and John Molloy’s  The Habit of Abuse. 

Michael J. Marlowe offers us Building Relationships with Troubled Children: Insights from Torey Hayden, John Stein believes Experience is the Best Teacher, Bethlehem Taylor remembers A Cockney Childhood in the East End Of London :1945-1960  and Charles Sharpe reviews Inequality, Poverty, Education A Political Economy of School Exclusion by Francesca Ashurst and Couze Venn and, Leading Good Care: the task, heart and art of managing social care by John Burton.

We believe Issue 17 of the goodenoughcaring Journal is a very special one and  hope you are are anticipating  with the excitement we are.

British Association of Social Workers : statement on the closure of the College of Social Work

Guy Shennan, Chair of the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) said: “We can appreciate why many social workers are now doubting the government’s commitment to the profession, given that its first action following the election is to close the College of Social Work.

“This comes in a week where Karen Bradley, minister for preventing abuse and exploitation, confirmed the government’s plan to consult on jailing social workers for ‘wilful neglect’.

“If ever there was a time for the social work profession to stand united, that time is now.

“There is no doubt that the children, families and adults that we work with are going to experience ever increasing hardship and the College closure is yet another blow for our social work colleagues and for service users.

“The College has done some good work for the sector and we will be contacting ministers and College members to discuss how this work can be taken forward.

“There are many newly qualified social workers currently undertaking the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) who will be worried about what the College closure now means for them.

“Only recently BASW has questioned the future of the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) and its relationship to the new knowledge and skills statements being led by the Chief Social Workers.

“We also don’t know how the closure will affect members who have taken out Professional Indemnity Insurance with the College.

“BASW has spent the past year consulting with members to determine our future shape and direction and we will be releasing the results of that work in due course.

“BASW remains committed to providing a strong and independent voice for social work and social workers in the interests of both social workers and those who use our services.

“We are keen to work constructively with any individual or organisation where this will support and strengthen the social work profession, in England and across the UK.

“We will be marching alongside service users at the People’s Assembly protest against austerity in London tomorrow and urge as many social workers as possible to take part. We have to keep the faith and stand up for social work.

“It is vital we maintain our professional ethics, values and independence in these challenging times for the profession.”

BASW Chief Executive, Bridget Robb, who was a member of the original task force which identified the need for a professional college for social work, and a member of the negotiating team for the merger, added:

“This day has been predicted for some time as the model established by the government was not sustainable. We now look forward to working with the College and all its members and supporters to see how we can reunite the social work profession across the UK.”

BASW is keen to hear comments and questions from members on the College closure. Please email your thoughts to  england@basw.co.uk

Something to ponder : what’s happening to our education system ?

Given all the changes which have occurred in the English education system particularly since the Labour government’s introduction of academies in 2000 it is not surprising that urban myths abound about the current state of the English education system. Among these myths are :

“Academies are run for big companies to profit from.”

“Academies get rid of the bureaucracy of education and allow schools freedom.”

“Free schools are selective because they are set up by the better off or the more ambitious  parents in a community for their kids and not for children from poorer families.”

Just how mythical are these ? Here is some recent, though not necessarily conclusive, compelling or comprehensive evidence concerning these matters.

Academies and Free Schools

Academies are publicly funded schools which operate outside of local authority control. The government describes them as independent state-funded schools. Essentially, academies have more freedom than other state schools over their finances, the curriculum, and teachers’ pay and conditions. Under the Labour government these were existing schools – often those considered to be under performing  – which elected to move out of local authority control.  An academy requires a sponsor – usually these are commercial organisations – which agrees a sum to which it underwrites the school’s finances. Free Schools are in essence the same as academies, they are set up and funded in the same way directly from central government. They are often called academies but they are usually set up by groups of parents, teachers, charities, trusts, religious and voluntary groups.

Who benefits in the new education system?

The usual government response to those who claim that the increasing number of free schools and academies set up by funds from the public purse is leading to the privatization of our public education system is that these schools are not privatized because they are legally required to be charities and the “for profit” organisations which run and sponsor them have set up charities which in a technical sense own the schools, and so these parent companies cannot and do not make money from their involvement with these schools. Recent evidence suggests this response lies firmly on the spurious side of dubious is counter to evidence concerning the relationship between public services and private organisations in education.

Many of the early sponsored academies which were established first by the Labour government were from the start under pressure to buy services from their sponsors, while the majority of these sponsors failed to honour their financial pledges to the schools (National Audit Office,2014).

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information requests showed that state-funded academies chains have paid millions of pounds to closely associated businesses, directors, trustees and directors (Benn,2015). One of the many examples of this was highlighted by The Guardian in 2014 when it reported that Grace Academy, which operates 3 schools in the Midlands of England and was set up by a Conservative Party supporter, Lord Edmiston, had paid more than a million pounds to closely associated businesses, owned or controlled by Lord Edmiston, to members of the board of trustees and to the relatives of trustees. Leigh Academy Trust, run by the national schools commissioner, Frank Green has from 1910, paid over a £111,000 in consultancy fees, to Shoreline, a private company founded by Frank Green. Aurora Academies Trust paid over £213,000 to Mosaica Education for educational services, reimbursement of travel expenses and for use of its Paragon curriculum resource; three of the Aurora directors have a direct or indirect interest in Mosaica Education. Though these dealings were heavily criticised by the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee, they are not  illegal !

A claim made for Free Schools is that they are more likely to be set up in deprived areas and on the face of it this seems a good thing. An important question is however not just “Where is a school set up ?” but also “Who is admitted to the school?”

A recent wide ranging study by the Institute of Education led by Frances Green concluded, “That free schools were being established in relatively poor areas but recruiting fewer poorer pupils from those areas than might have been expected if selection had been random.”  (Green et al, 2015, p8)

One example of this was found in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets where in one free school 4.4% of the children were eligible for free school meals while the figure for all schools in Tower Hamlets in 2014 was 69%.

With a government whose constant mantra has been to improve the education of poor children, it is sobering to read the LSE/University of Manchester assessment of the government’s performance since 2010. The study concludes that there is a trend toward the narrowing of the school curriculum which excludes children with interests not covered by the traditionally academic subjects. It also observes,

“Inequalities in educational outcomes are affected by family poverty and by government policies on curriculum and assessment as well as by the pupil premium, for the most disadvantaged pupils. The fact that the gap between poorer, low achieving pupils and the rest has widened despite the government’s efforts to close it should give cause for concern”.


Benn, Melissa (2015) “Who runs our schools?” correspondence in The London Review of Books Vol 37, No 12 June 12th, 2015

Green.F., Allen R., & Jenkins, A. (2015) “Are Free Schools Social Selective? A Quantitive Analysis.’ Centre for Research on Learning and Life Chances Institute for Education Accessed at http://www.llakes.ac.uk/sites/llakes.ac.uk/files/Are_Free_Schools_Socially_Selective_original.pdfon June 11th, 2015

London School of Economics and the University of Manchester (2015) The Coalition’s Record on Schools: Policy, Spending and Outcomes 2010-2015 accessed at http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/case/spcc/wp13.pdf on June 10th, 2015

National Audit Office, (2014)   Academies and maintained schools : Oversight and intervention accessed at http://www.nao.org.uk/report/academies-and-maintained-schools-oversight-and-intervention/   on June 11th, 2015

Syal, Rajeev. (2014) “Revealed: taxpayer-funded academies paying millions to private firms” in  The Guardian  January 12th, 2014 Accessed at http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/jan/12/taxpayer-funded-academy-paying-millions-private-firms-schools-education-revealed-education on June 10th, 2015



Unity through Relationship Annual Conference : Call for Papers

9th and 10th November 2015 Regency Airport Hotel Dublin

Maurice Fenton of  Empower Ireland has written to us  to announce that Drs Jim Anglin and Thom Garfat are keynoting the 2015 ‘Unity through Relationship’ annual conference. This conference is an inclusive international event seeking to build on the connections and relationships made in previous years by bringing together representatives of all sectors involved in the provision of services to children, youth and families. These include (not an exhaustive list): front-line practitioners, educators, researchers, managers, clinicians, carers and students.

Conference theme – ‘Congruent Care through Dialogue in Praxis’.

As Paulo Freire has pointed out dialogue is the essence of a coherent and comprehensive process of sharing; values, knowledge, advice and support. In this sense, ‘dialogue’ represents ‘action’, rather than discussion without purpose as it encompasses research, theory, practice and politics.

To have effective, consistent and congruent practice in child, youth and family services it is clear that ‘dialogue’ is essential, and that this dialogue must permeate the everyday lives of those involved. Dialogue must exist within and between carers; those being cared for; child protection practitioners; educators; managers; clinicians; researchers and all those wishing to take up the mantel.

The objectives of this 2 day conference are (within a relational framework):

  • to provide a forum to highlight thinking and share the views and practice experiences of all who recognise this ‘imperative’
  • to go some way to meeting the need for the realisation of processes which permit the translation of theory and research into practice, and
  • to share progressive and contemporary knowledge.

The importance of ‘action’ is fully recognised when discussing the development of a fully integrated and relationally-based system of care. But if we are to exist within a system of effective, congruent and values-based care practices there needs to be space for ‘discussion and dissemination’, as only dialogue in praxis can ensure the promotion of the core values of; respect, equity, participation, partnership, empowerment and social justice. 

Empower Ireland is at this time sending out a call for papers and seeks applications to contribute to the conference. If you have an idea you would like to propose or want some help with the application process, Empower Ireland  will be happy to provide support.

This conference will be innovative, programmatic, participative, comparative, critical and empowering


Completed application forms to be submitted before 27th June 2015 to: info@empowerireland.com

Forms for proposals for papers can be found at   http://www.unitythroughrelationship.com