Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Looking at the panel (3)

Well, it looks like I can only manage one panel member per post - so I'd better resign myself to that and plan to rename the posts accordingly at the end, for ease of reference.

Before I start to write about Delroy Pommell, the third elective home education review panel member and the London and South East Director of Barnados, I just want to give a brief and completely unrelated mention to this article about 'New Labour and Children' by Lisa Blakemore-Brown, which I've just read. It's an absolute must-read for every parent in the UK, I think, and certainly for anyone who has anything to do with the law and government policy about children and families here.

That said, onto Mr Pommell:

He is a member of the London Child Poverty Commission, although his membership of our review panel is apparently to do with 'child protection/ 3rd sector' issues.

I am wary of anyone connected with a child poverty group in the UK, because of the real meaning of that fifth ECM [opens pdf] outcome: Achieve Economic Wellbeing, in which all the campaigners have played their part, unwittingly or otherwise. I wish they would all now put a similar amount of effort into reversing the damage, assuming they were duped by government.

But I'd like to try and find something that Mr Pommel has written or said, to try to give us an insight into his thinking.

Well, this might be encouraging - or at least interesting - because it relates to education:

Children's charity Barnardo's has called for a greater focus on vocational training and support as this year's GCSE results are unveiled. The charity has warned thousands of young people will feel rejected and disappointed by the expected focus on high achievers. And it has launched an internet advertising campaign highlighting the barriers to achievement in mainstream education among young people.

Delroy Pommel, UK director of education at Barnardo's, said: "We work with young people of all abilities who for a wide variety of reasons - such as challenging family circumstances, unmet special educational needs, homelessness and mental health difficulties - have not thrived at school. We know with the right support every young person can succeed." He added the charity provided alternative education, vocational training and special education for thousands of young people who are unable to fulfil their potential in mainstream education.

Difficult to comment about such a short piece though. What else can I find..?

Here's the full press release from Barnados relating to that particular issue. It gives a little bit more background, but again, nothing especially about Mr Pommell.

He formed part of the 'reference group' for this barnados report [opens pdf] about 'Meeting the needs of sexually exploited young people in London' by Zoe Harper and Sara Scott.. and he helped to develop/produce this one [opens pdf] about 'The lives of homeless children and families in London' by John Reacroft.

I can't find anything else about Mr Pommell. Anyone else having more luck? I'm more than happy to defer to Elaine's formidable Googling skills. Let us know if you find anything, Elaine (or anyone)?

I can say for certain that I can't find anything that states, or even hints, that Mr Pommell may have had any experience of elective home education.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't Barnados pull out of the review because they realised it was beyond their remit, or something? Or was that just one person at Barnados, so Badman's just asked the next person down on the list?

And didn't Prof Heppell say the whole abuse issue was a red herring - so why the need for any child protection angle to the whole thing? Well, I know the answer Badman would give, but you know - just sounding off!

And thanks once again for the hard work you're putting into digging up all this info for us. It can't be much fun! x

8:32 am, April 21, 2009  
Blogger Mieke said...

Trying to recover after reading that article of Lisa Blakemore-Brown you linked to. I actually have no words. I shall make sure that as many people / parents as possible read this. The only positive I see in this is that she managed to stay on her feet to speak publicly about it and to publish this article. That shows courage and power. We will need much of the same to stand our ground.

9:16 am, April 21, 2009  
Anonymous Sam said...

The Modern Liberty article is just awful.
I can't find anything on Delroy Pommel, only that when googled with other names, Heppell, Badman, Becta etc, nothing comes up(unlike Melhuish and Waters)which is a good thing ?
Doesn't mean he knows anything about EHE,but at least he might be singing from a different hymn sheet, although I see that Barnardos do provide education, they have three schools for residential and day pupils.

9:56 am, April 21, 2009  
Blogger Barry said...

I don't know if it's just me, but I always find the language in these govt documents to be so elusive, the true meaning of what's being said always seems just beyond reach. There's some where the statements are built on ideological assumptions which make it hard to disagree, eg you have to say you *don't* want to protect children from abuse because their idea of protection from abuse is to be at school. Then there's all these documents written in a sort of slippery business speak, lots of synergies, targets, outcomes, frameworks, integated this and that, striving for excellence etc. It's all quite draining, I wish it could just be a traightforwardly open debate about different models of education, but I guess that's not how these things work. It starts to feel like such a swamp, you wonder what good can come of it if you have to play within their rules, when it would be better to be able to reject the need for this review in the first place. Bit like politics, you can vote for 'a' or 'b', but actually it is a bogus charade of 'choice'.

Thanks for your ongoing work digging into this!

11:32 am, April 21, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As to Mr. Pommell, I found this:
He's bothered about the cost of children's uniforms as a source of stress.
He obviously comes from a position of children and lack. Children lack nutrition, they lack confidence because of uniforms...
When you start from a position of lack, you are bound to find 'lack' in other things. Like home education...
On the other hand, Delroy Pommell was supportive of this:
A centre in Walthamstow where disabled children can play with their friends and siblings.

Mr Pommell was also a Divisional Director of Children's Services in Croydon before he joined Barnados.

Hope that helps.


12:25 pm, April 21, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

Debs, yes I think it was just that Martin Narey pulled out - for what reason, I don't know. And yes, Professor Heppell did say that, didn't he? Thanks for thanking me, but I'm a driven soul while this thing is underway!

Mieke, agreed.

Sam, for some strange reason all the spellings of the names in the panel list we were given seem to be slightly wrong, or at least, alternative.

Barry I wholeheartedly agree. It is absolutely draining - and most of us don't even work in that bog of a culture {the education industry). I really sympathise with anyone who does nowadays. I agree, the choice is a charade, as is this review IMO.

That is very helpful, thanks Diane.

5:57 am, April 24, 2009  

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