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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.

Welfare officers provide vital defence

Education welfare officers (who go by the glorious acronym of EWOs) provide a lifeline to vulnerable schoolchildren, and there are calls this week for their contribution to be properly recognised.

Policy into practice - Extracurricular activities

The issue: Demonstrating soft skills, such as decision making, relationship building, problem solving and teamwork, can really help to boost a young person's employment prospects. Former Health Secretary Alan Milburn's recent report into social mobility says that in order to help narrow the attainment gap between young people from different social backgrounds, schools should provide a range of extracurricular activities.

Outstanding challenge for Ofsted

Ofsted-bashing has been on the rise for several months. Cries of exasperation over the way the children's services inspectorate goes about its business have come in fits and starts from all quarters.

Policy into practice - Access to university

The issue: Thousands of young people will start university over the next few weeks. But the stark reality is that young people with parents in professional positions are three times more likely to go to university than those whose parents are on low incomes.

The key to Ofsted's rehabilitation

Ofsted has attracted its share of flak in recent months, much of it justified. The verdict of its Annual Performance Assessment of Haringey Council in late 2007 as "good" is now notorious.

Policy into practice - Financial education

The issue: As more families feel the effects of the recession, the impact on children is starting to show. Recent research carried out by the Personal Finance Education Group (PFEG) into the effects of the credit crunch on family life has shown that 70 per cent of parents believe money has become a more regular topic of conversation in the home over the past 12 months.

Tory policy still needs some improvements

There is a very real prospect that the next government will be a Conservative one. So it's encouraging that apart from the small matter of a global economic crisis, issues affecting children, young people and families took centre stage at the party's annual conference this week.

What we need is a trusting society, Darling

"What I want to avoid is getting ourselves in a position governments have done in the past where you face an immediate problem and cut back on things the country will need in the future," Chancellor Alistair Darling said last weekend.

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