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Will new ministers have any new ideas?

It is still too early to offer any well-informed predictions of what to expect from new Education Secretary Damian Hinds and his ministers at the Department for Education.

Mental health reforms can't wait until 2023

After all the talking and all the waiting it was great to finally see the green paper on children's mental health published in December. But it was like unwrapping a Christmas gift from someone who doesn't know you very well: you're excited to get anything, grateful they thought of you, then disappointed that you didn't get exactly what you wanted.

England is out of kilter on youth policy

At the end of last year, Tracey Crouch, England's youth minister, announced the shelving of plans for a new three-year youth policy statement, despite this being promised by her predecessor a year ago. The argument was that a broader civil society strategy was needed instead, one that embraced much more than youth work and youth policy.

Fears over universal credit demand action

The impact on poor people of the rollout of universal credit - the minimum six-week delay in receiving the first payment, the reduced amount that most claimants receive, the frequent slide into debt - is well known. But its impact on child protection has been largely overlooked.

Children Act well-intentioned duty now unrealistic

Often while walking between meetings my mind wanders back to the now familiar place it likes to pause: how to reconcile rising demand and reducing resource with high expectations that local authorities can and will minimise error in our child protection system.

Government must commit to make PSHE mandatory

One of the watershed moments of 2017 for the children's sector was the government's decision in March to legislate for the introduction of age-appropriate relationships and sex education (RSE).

Police show why early help is everyone's duty

In a passionate address at the recent National Children and Adult Services Conference, Stuart Gallimore, vice-president of the Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS), explained that cuts to his budget in East Sussex means he will have to make decisions about provision he knows don't "make sense" in the long run. He, like other DCSs, faces the dilemma to reduce funding to early help provision to maintain services for children in care and at risk - knowing that doing so could raise the vulnerability of those whose problems are less severe.

Co-production vital across child services

The first session of this year's Conservative Party conference is set to focus on education, housing and political participation. All three policy issues have, in recent years, under the same party's watch, produced deep fissures of concern, pushing many young people to the margins and causing anxiety, frustration and sometimes alienation. At the heart of this lies a dramatic deterioration in the subjective emotional wellbeing of children and young people, who are struggling to find out where they fit in the modern world. The Children's Society Good Childhood report 2017 is testament to that.

National safety net for SEND funding needed

There are few more emotive issues than school funding. The government was reminded of this earlier in the year when, in the run-up to the general election, it was forced to backtrack on plans for a national funding formula over concerns the changes would see many schools lose money. To address this, the government pledged in the summer an extra £1.3bn from existing Department for Education coffers to plug the hole in the schools budget. It means that under the revised national formula, published in September (News, p4), every school will now receive a per-pupil funding rise. Few would argue that the formula needed changing, but questions remain about whether its replacement will solve the current crisis.

Learning lessons from the Grenfell tragedy

When we think about our priorities for keeping vulnerable children safe, most of the time our minds turn to topics such as child protection services, thresholds, or child sexual exploitation.

Social mobility talk not matched by reality

There is no doubt that the divide between the rich and the rest has become significantly greater over the past few years, with two seminal events along the way - the financial crash of 2007/08 and the election of the coalition government in 2010.