Friday, April 24, 2009

Looking at the panel (6)

The sixth member of the review panel is Paul Ennals - Chief Executive, NCB. He is, the list says, there to represent the 3rd sector. His NCB bio lists all of his current and previous organisational positions, but I'd like to find something he's reported as having said about something - anything! - to try to give us a more personal insight.

Well, here's a kind of insightful piece about his wishes for the 2004 budget but actually it doesn't tell us much, except that he'd like higher taxes and more money to be spent on children's services. He has a Wikipedia entry which mentions his membership of something called the DCSF 'Stakeholders Board', which immediately think of the discussions we've had here this week about how such a panel as the one for this review, is formulated. So there is a list!

I got a bit sidetracked then onto the subject of stakeholders and found this intriguing page on the ECM website, directed from DCSF about mapping them:

DCSF mapping stakeholders

Look! They have spreadsheets [opens Excel] full of them!

There's been quite a lot of discussion on the home ed lists about the concept of 'stakeholders' which, I agree, is deeply disturbing. The term originated in the business world, which is where I think it belongs. Wikipedia now defines it as "A person, group, organization, or system who affects or can be affected by an organization's actions." Well, that's all of us then, when it comes to something like the EHE review. Obviously it's the cherry-picking of preferential stakeholders that gets to define government policy development though. And yes, as parents I think we are offended, for what it's worth (which obviously isn't much) that an ever-increasing list of strangers should claim to hold stakes in our children's lives.

Back to Mr Ennals. He wrote this article in the Guardian two years ago about 'The essential elements of a Children's Plan', though there's nothing in that which tells us anything particularly relevant to the EHE review except, perhaps that he manages to mention Victoria ClimbiƩ in his last paragraph without bizarrely conflating her death with elective home education (unlike the NSPCC) which possibly offers a glimmer of hope for us:

Finally, he should revisit the origins of Every Child Matters - the case of Victoria ClimbiƩ. Would the changes brought in so far prevent such a death happening again? The risks may be reduced, but there are big issues still to be tackled around private fostering, immigration policies, and the inequalities still faced by some children from ethnic minorities.

Our absence in that list hopefully indicates that he has no particular axe to grind about us, but everything I've read about him and his views this morning tells me that he sees solutions to children's problems in the wider society, as opposed to at home with their families and this does worry me a bit, as regards his likely position with regard to elective home education.

Ooh, I've just come across this quote of his: "If they are denied access to school they also miss out on health education," which, though taken wildly out of context (I think he's talking about excluded children - I get the feeling he's one of those people who lived in blithe ignorance of our existence, and to whom it was quite a shock when he found out) still rings alarm bells.

I've just gasped to come across a Tolkien [mis]quote in one of his NBC presentations [opens pdf] - and what a quote he chose! Talking about the Integrated Qualifications Framework:

One ring to bind them all

The actual inscription on the One Ring, 'roughly translated', read as follows:

One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

The One Ring was created by the Dark Lord Sauron during the Second Age in order to gain dominion over the free peoples of Middle-earth, so it might indeed be a very appropriate desciption for the entire ECM framework [opens pdf], let alone just the IQF - though perhaps not quite in the way Mr Ennals had in mind!

7 Comments:

Blogger cosmic seed said...

*Shudder* @ the ring misquote.

10:48 am, April 24, 2009  
Blogger Maire said...

Sends shivers down your back, and is what they are trying to do although being in the darkness themselves they possibly don't realise it.

10:50 am, April 24, 2009  
Blogger moley said...

Oh good grief - has anyone looked at the NCB website? It screams - QUANGO - to me. Or possibly fake charity! Their accounts are a bit opaque but at least 50% of their 'donations' come from government funding, possibly up to 95%.

Ennals himself said in this piece:
http://tiny.cc/iVLgf

"And third, at last I feel confident that Every Child Matters really is here to stay. The five outcomes are now part of our language; the new structures in local government are gathering moss."
which doesn't bode well :-(

6:50 pm, April 24, 2009  
Anonymous suzyg said...

Just to reassure you Gill, the concept of stakeholder has been hi-jacked by the business community. It was expounded in Steven Lukes' book "Power: A Radical View" in 1974 and may be older than that.

9:01 pm, April 24, 2009  
Anonymous suzyg said...

Incidentally it's worth reading the Wikipedia entry on Lukes - his theory about how governments exercise power is very relevant to the situation we are dealing with.

9:04 pm, April 24, 2009  
Blogger Ruth said...

I felt like someone walked over my grave when I read the one ring quote. Thank for researching the Gill. I am reading just at a loss for words lately.

11:46 pm, April 24, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

Moley quoted: "At last I feel confident that Every Child Matters really is here to stay."

Hmm. Complacency is always a dodgy position, IMO. That's the kind of statement people make about a project just before it all goes horribly wrong, so it gives me a skewed kind of hope, eternal optimist that I am ;-)

I too felt unsettled when I looked at the NCB website. The phrase there that stuck out in my mind was "semi-independent organisations and networks", because the status of 'semi-independence' is a questionable one, in my opinion.

Suzy, having read Steven Lukes' Wikipedia entry, I now want to read his books! Thanks for telling us about him.

Ruth, Cosmic, Maire, yes it was definitely a goosebumps moment for me too.

7:31 am, April 26, 2009  

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