In Residence

“This is my Story”

by Dr Keith J. White

Posted on July 1 2014

The importance of life stories cannot be overstated. By life stories I mean the process in which a child, young person or adult tells in some consecutive or coherent age-appropriate way the narrative of their life to date. And implicit in this is the fact that someone who cares about them unconditionally has listened to and received their story.As my lecturing has developed over the years (I began teaching at Spurgeons College in 1978 and have continued in various places around the world ever since) I have come to see the value of modelling what I am trying to communicate. So the way in which I welcome members of a class, and how they seek to welcome me, is a vital part of the whole process. Likewise with farewells…and everything in between!

It was an American colleague who first suggested to me the idea of what he called “reaction” or “reflection” papers written by students at the end of each day, and handed to the lecturer at the outset of the following day. The content of the papers and the responses of the teacher are confidential to the two people concerned, and constitute therefore a continuing personal correspondence over the course of the module.

During the first day of a course I indicate to every student the fact that I would very much welcome anything that they would like to tell me about their life story. I stress that this is an invitation, not a directive. And a universal trend has become apparent: all students tend to welcome this opportunity to share with me something of their background. I never refer to any of this material in class, but it helps to provide useful contextual information as I teach and observe the dynamics of the class … Continue reading …

In Residence

By Choice or By Order?

by Dr Keith J. White

Posted on June 1 2014

Over many years of observation it has become apparent to me that children and adults live and act for one of two fundamental reasons: because of choice, or because of an order. (By choice I mean that they act primarily out of free will, not because they have been … Continue reading …


Hill End

Posted on May 17 2014

About two years ago I stumbled across a blogger called ‘Pitsea pirate’ who gave a poignant description of his childhood and how he ended up in Hill End Adolescent Unit for six months when he was twelve because he kept running away from home. This led me to also … Continue reading …

In Residence

How Attached Are We to Children?

by Dr Keith J. White

Posted on May 1 2014

It is well known that all the nations in the world apart from the USA and Somalia are signed up to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989. But from the very start there have been those of us who have wondered what it actually … Continue reading …

In Residence

“For what we are About to Receive may the Lord Make us Truly Thankful”

by Dr Keith J. White &, davidlane

Posted on April 4 2014

In the last week of March 2014 there were six of us together in North Wales. We called ourselves a work-party, and the purpose of our trip and stay was to attend to some of the repairs and maintenance required by the two houses belonging to Mill Grove in … Continue reading …

In Residence

Better Late Then Never

by Dr Keith J. White &, davidlane

Posted on March 10 2014

My very first visit to Hungary was when I touched down in Budapest airport on Monday 17th February 2014. For many other passengers it seemed as if it was just another flight. But for me it was imbued with huge personal significance.

The reason is that it was as … Continue reading …

In Residence

Better Late Then Never.

Posted on March 5 2014

In Residence

Inside and Outside of Children’s Homes

by Dr Keith J. White &, davidlane

Posted on February 3 2014

According to the Office for National Statistics in the 17 years since 1996, the number of adults between the ages of 20 and 34 in the UK still living with their parents has increased by 25% (670,000) There is a gender difference with 2.1 million (32%) being men, and … Continue reading …

In Residence

Of Friends and Friendship

by Dr Keith J. White &, davidlane

Posted on January 6 2014

This article is an attempt to reflect on one or more aspects of the nature of friendship in order to work out some of the implications for children and young people who find themselves in the care system. It was a simple comment that stirred the theme into life, … Continue reading …

Child Protection

Regulation Matters

by davidlane

Posted on January 6 2014

A Potted History

Professionals working with children and young people have been arguing for a long time now that they should be registered. There are several reasons. The self-interest is that registration tends to give credibility, kudos, standing and recognition to those who achieve registration. But the reason why registered people … Continue reading …

In Residence

“Some of the young people have never been to the beach.”

by Dr Keith J. White &, davidlane

Posted on December 13 2013

It was at a board meeting of Frontier Youth Trust in Birmingham when a youth worker came out with this phrase. He had been engaged with young people for several years through music and the arts. But contrary to what you might assume he was not working in … Continue reading …

In Residence

John Bowlby, Russ Conway, Donald Winnicott and Maths

by Dr Keith J. White

Posted on November 9 2013

It all began when I heard what one of my grandchildren had said soon after she and her family had moved house. Talking to her older sister she was musing on the first big transition in her life. “I’ve got a new house. I’ve got new friends. … Continue reading …


Newsletter : October 2013

by davidlane

Posted on October 11 2013

Since the last Newsletter we have published over twenty items - as usual, a very varied mixture of articles and reviews. They are described below.

First, an advert for a conference sponsored by the Child Care History Network and Hilfield Priory about Homer Lane and the Little Commonwealth, as it is the centenary this year of Lane’s ground-breaking experiment:
Radical Then, Radical Now: Care and Education in Communities

Keith White’s monthly In Residence column has emphasised his concern for valuing people and the importance of relationships.
In July he looked at what gives a person worth, such as having a baby.
In August, the subject was the things that make times special for people, for example on their birthdays.
In September, Keith looked at sharing responsibility.
And this month he considered the unexpected rewards of caring for children with disabilities.

Valerie Jackson contributed a forthright piece on the dangers of drinking alcohol when pregnant, and an interesting item on what children can learn from animals.

Jane Proudman’s paper to a conference in York describes the successful application of social pedagogy methods to links between school and the families of children with problems such as absenteeism, a model that could be usefully replicated.

On the international front there were items from authors in Denmark, Bangladesh and the United States, as well as a piece about a school trip from the UK to Jordan.

Dr Søren Hegstrup wrote about the legal framework for work with juveniles in secure settings in Denmark and made a plea for proper aftercare to enable social inclusion when young people leave care.

Md. Tuhinul Islam described the experiences of young people in residential care in Bangladesh, his findings being often at odds with UK practice.

Tanisha Sharma provided a nice piece about the benefits of building international bridges in her account of her school expedition to Jordan.

Rachel Thomas wrote about problems, and the danger of jumping to conclusions.

Robert Shaw pointed out that proper attention had not been paid to research findings, either in the running of Feltham or in critiques of its work.

We carried tributes also to the late Gillian Corsellis, a champion of young children.
We have republished three press releases which we thought readers would find interesting.
Regulation Matters is campaigning to register all home child care workers.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award has been going for over sixty years, and still expanding internationally: a real achievement.

National Family Mediation are concerned that legal aid for family mediation goes unclaimed as the courts are clogged with cases.

Finally, six book reviews, a mixture of books for professionals and books for children.

There is Martin Levy’s biography of Dr Barnardo: Champion of Victorian Children,
a complex character who changed the lives of thousands of children.

Professor David Divine wrote Aberlour Narratives of Success about the Scottish institution where he was brought up, offering a contrasting picture to the public image of large homes.

A number of authors contributed to a history of Catholic Care in the Diocese of Leeds, celebrating its 150th anniversary, and recording the work of the professionals who laid the foundations for today’s services.

Among books for children, Hilary Robinson and Mandy Stanley teamed up again to help little children deal with important issues in Help a Hamster, on the theme of adoption.

There are also reviews of two stunning Dorling Kindersley books, one covering geography, and the other described as a knowledge encyclopedia dealing with the whole range of human knowledge in 360 pages. Both books are brilliant and - as we’re getting near Christmas - would make good presents for children of junior school age.

Child Care History

Radical Then, Radical Now: Care and Education in Communities

by davidlane

Posted on October 10 2013

In 1913 an American called Homer Lane was appointed to run the Little Commonwealth, the first experiment in community education in the UK. A.S. Neill was greatly influenced by Homer Lane and, through his writings and his work at Summerhill, he in turn influenced the British education system as a … Continue reading …

In Residence

The Power of the Living Subject

by Dr Keith J. White

Posted on October 7 2013

On Saturday afternoon we had a 21st birthday party in the garden at Mill Grove. It was an autumnal day, dry and pleasant. Pears and apples were ripening and there were several windfalls. The grass was lush. To picture the scene, imagine a white tent/gazebo beside … Continue reading …

Social Pedagogy

Pedagogy in Practice

by Jade Proudman davidlane

Posted on October 7 2013

Having worked in the social care sector for many years, predominantly in residential care with looked after children, I began a Master’s Degree in Educational Improvement, Development and Change (Residential Care of … Continue reading …

International Child Care

The Legal Framework for Work with Juveniles in Secure Settings in Denmark

by Soeren Hegstrup

Posted on October 7 2013

The legal basis for work in the context of secure detention and coercive/restrained settings is an article in the law of Social Service. It is not an article in the common criminal law. According to Social Service law the decision is taken by a group of experts in the municipality. … Continue reading …


What is the Matter with Feltham?

by Robert Shaw

Posted on October 7 2013

Continue reading …


Tributes to Gillian Corsellis

by davidlane

Posted on October 7 2013

Gillian Corsellis died on 8 August 2013 at the age of 93, and her funeral ceremony was held at Grantham Crematorium on 21 August.

The tributes below are based in part on the eulogy delivered at the funeral service and in part on personal recollections. It is often only at funeral … Continue reading …

Social Issues

Regulation Matters Campaign Launches Website

by davidlane

Posted on October 6 2013

The Regulation Matters Campaign has launched its own website:
The site features news and information about the Campaign, including the results of its recent surveys of nannies, parents and nanny agencies:
Regulation Matters is calling for “the registration of all childcarers in the UK, so that nannies and other home … Continue reading …