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Labour must produce a clear vision for children

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  • Tuesday, March 18, 2014
After a slow start, Labour seems to be finding its feet in opposition. But with a general election a little over a year away, time is running out for the party to produce a coherent policy vision for children, young people and families.

DfE must serve children, not our sitcom writers

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  • Tuesday, January 22, 2013
In what ended up as an explosive exit interview, Tim Loughton lifted the lid on the inner workings of the Department for Education at a select committee hearing last week with the department's former ministers.

Resilience prevails amid Osborne's bleak choices

Like a piercing, bitter English winter, Chancellor George Osbourne's "autumn statement" was eye-wateringly harsh. It is, without doubt, children and young people growing up in the most deprived households who are being asked to bear the brunt.

Children need a long-term plan in this spending abyss

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  • Tuesday, October 30, 2012
The country might be out of recession (again), but with the size of the deficit still enormous, public spending shows no sign of returning to growth. In our special report, we examine the long-term challenges and consequences of children's services spend continuing to fall during this decade.

Progress in joint working must go on

The decision last week to strip the Children's Workforce Development Council (CWDC) of government funding will inevitably raise concerns that any genuine "development" of the workforce will stall. A plan for how the Department for Education intends to take forward the quango's work is yet to be articulated.

Shhh... Every Child Matters lives on

Watch out, the language police are about. An internal Department for Education memo lists 30 terms the government wants consigned to history, and the words that should be used in their place. Many relate directly to children's services.

Hidden costs of payment-by-results

We are in an age of austerity where outcomes are critical. So it is difficult to take issue in raw principle with the government's desire to commission more public services on a payment-by-results basis.

Can good services remain standing?

Like the suffocating drone of vuvuzelas, cuts continue to dominate the atmosphere in the children's services arena and in public services more generally.

Sector must influence the coalition

They say that a week is a long time in politics. Quite. As predicted in these pages for many months, the new Tory Secretary of State Michael Gove has renamed the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) as the Department for Education.

Election result prolongs uncertainty

At the time of writing -- on the historically uncertain afternoon of Friday 7 May -- the Conservatives were about to enter into negotiations with the Liberal Democrats about helping them to form a government.

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