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Grow your own

12 July 2019

As I sit down to write this blog the ADCS Annual Conference 2019 has just finished. If you didn't get a chance to catch Rachel Dickinson's amazing speech or attend all of the conference sessions you can catch up on them, here. There were so many interesting ideas and experiences shared, and it was...

With the school term finishing, the summer holidays are once again upon us. Children and young people will have a much-earned rest after the academic year, as will their teachers. Parents and carers, especially those unable to find childcare arrangements, will be faced with a tough choice about...

At the end of July, we will know who the next Prime Minister is, and we should have a good idea about what some of their priorities will be for this country. The main focus of the recent debates between the candidates has understandably been on Brexit, this issue has dominated the time and attention...

As we witness heatwaves across central Europe, freak hail storms in Mexico and simultaneous drought and flooding in India, even the most hardened climate change deniers are struggling to avoid the conclusion that something's up.  More than 90 local authorities (and rising) have now declared a climate...

Local authority children's services does something good for local family… Seems like an unlikely news story doesn't it? It's hard to think of a job more important than child protection. While most children, young people and families thrive, for some a little extra support is vital. To protect the...

On 22 May I joined many other people in watching a Panorama programme exposing the cruel and callous treatment of staff towards people with learning disabilities and autism in their care at the now infamous Whorlton Hall. This programme came after an eight year period of reform in this area, including...

There is no poverty in the UK I hear you cry. Really? Let's start by looking at what we mean by poverty and the statistics. There is currently no formal UK-wide measure of poverty, but experts such as the Social Metrics Commission set the threshold as 55 per cent of the median total available resources...

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...