Freeman's Thinking

There has been some recent national media coverage about local authorities using ‘algorithms' to predict the likelihood of a child being abused. Should the prospect of a ‘Big Brother' approach worry us, or should we be encouraged by the possibility of improving outcomes for children? Algorithms, machine...

Esther McVey, the Work and Pensions Secretary, says that teenagers should be encouraged to take up Saturday and after-school jobs to help them develop a work ethic. I'm not against this in principle - both my wife and I had jobs when we were at school, as did our children and, as a long-time advocate...

Most of the recent domestic political rhetoric has related to the crises in the NHS and in adult social care. I'm not minimising those - there are increased costs for both, with an ageing population and more things to go wrong as people live longer. But services for children, both universal and targeted,...

Esther McVey, the Work and Pensions Secretary, says that teenagers should be encouraged to take up Saturday and after-school jobs to help them develop a work ethic. I'm not against this in principle - both my wife and I had jobs when we were at school, as did our children and, as a long-time advocate...

"Off-rolling is wrong", says Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman in her Annual Report. That's great, of course, and about time. But - spoiler alert - the solution is in her own hands. First, though, it must be said that there has been plenty of evidence of off-rolling for many years. Back in 2004,...

I hope that no-one has been surprised that the phonics test has showed a rapid increase in the proportion of children reaching the expected standard. It is an inevitable and universal finding that high-stakes tests show a rapid improvement in their first years, slowly tailing off until nearly everyone...

We all know that domestic violence and abuse is a scourge on families. The women and children, and the few men, affected suffer both short term and immediate trauma and long term negative impacts, both physical and mental. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is insidious partly because it is invisible, but...

Starting with the key point - fixed odds betting terminals (FOBT) are a key contributor to family and child poverty and should be banned. But I fear they won't be banned, and the best we can hope for is better control and regulation - though many vested interests will argue against even that. Why...

I don't always agree with government policy - and with the present government I agree less than ever. But I can usually accept that there is something proper about the process. There is something, if not pleasing, at least worthy of professional respect about a law that has been through consultation,...

I'm pleased that Theresa May commissioned the research that is now being published. It's always useful to have detailed and complete evidence. I'm looking forward to trawling the website for new insights. But unfortunately the headlines so far have simply told me what we have known for many years,...