This chapter examines what happens to the understanding of the whole child as policies of well-being and character are mediated and developed in and through a neoliberal education system. It traces the relationship between well-being and New Labour's policy agenda of social investment and examines the effect of extending systems of audit and measurement to gauge the success of investment in childhood well-being. Following this, the relationship between character education and policies of social mobility, systems of accountability and privatisation and the evolution of heterarchical network governance are examined. Overall, it is argued that the pre-existent policy field leads to an instrumentalisation of the emotional and moral life of the child and an intensification of the commodification and marketisation of the whole child.
The chapter begins with an examination of Foucault's thinking on governmentality. It concludes by arguing that the processes, practices, discourses, organisations and policies examined cohere as a part of a neoliberal dispositif. This dispositif extends the metaphor and practices of the competitive market to the emotional and moral development of the whole child as a form of governmentality.