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It is nearly a year since I started in Blackburn with Darwen as the director of children's services and education. I had the opportunity of taking over the role from a highly regarded predecessor, working for a council that had just achieved the accolade of being awarded Council of the Year. Although...

The precarious state of local government funding continues to capture the attention of the media and just this week I've read several articles on this topic. The Institute for Fiscal Studies' (IFS) recent analysis of local government funding highlighted the extent of government cuts to date. It found...

It was the longest and largest consultation Ofsted has ever undertaken (four months with 100 focus groups and 250 pilots across the sector) and consequently 15,000 people replied. Lesson to Ofsted, and the DfE may listen, but if you really want our views; give it enough time, be visible, share the information...

Earlier this month Edward Timpson's long awaited review of school exclusions was published and it certainly made for an interesting read. The report highlighted the increasing rate of fixed-term and permanent exclusions with this cohort disproportionately made up of vulnerable children and young people...

The young person who needs work experience to get hired, but needs a job to fund work experience. The teacher who can see that a child needs counselling, but finds the CAMHS threshold means they must reach crisis point to be eligible. The young gang member who wants to escape violence but only feels...

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is not a place you'd go expecting to debate youth policy. However, in amongst the jugs of Pimm's and garlands of geraniums this year, questions about young people's place in the world were never far from the surface. The big press story - and the big public draw - was the...

Earlier this year, I was among the speakers at a conference in Cardiff which focused on approaches to the issue of child sexual abuse (CSA). Speakers at the event covered topics which included the development of the UK's first child house - London's Lighthouse project, based on the Icelandic ‘Barnahús'...

I've been spending quite a lot of time on trains travelling to meetings and speaking at conferences on behalf of ADCS recently. This has given me some valuable time to do some reading (as well as the obligatory emails!), but it also leaves time for reflection. During the Northampton to Taunton leg...

The debate about what is education continues unabated. The DfE annoyed and baffled many last month when they announced that they did not advocate using the word learning because it is a weak term; they want to use the term attainment instead. Whatever happened to lifelong learning? Learning not to...

Last week, I attended the Greater Manchester Contextual Safeguarding Conference and was privileged to hear Dez Holmes from Research in Practice speak. Dez always provides me with a golden nugget or two to reflect on. As the new director of people at Bolton Council, I was motivated by her challenge...