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Benefits of funded childcare need selling

When searching for reasons for the low take-up of funded childcare for disadvantaged two-year-olds in England, debate has focused on whether providers are being adequately remunerated to create sufficient places.

Free childcare scheme needs more investment

The government's free childcare offer for disadvantaged two-year-olds is both laudable and much needed. But that alone will not guarantee its success. Concerns about implementation of the initiative - which is meant to provide 15 hours of free childcare per week for the 130,000 most disadvantaged two-year-olds - have been around for some time. In the spring, the government's own figures showed a quarter of the expected number of places had yet to be created.

'Schoolification' is not the answer to narrow the gap

  • Monday, April 14, 2014
Patience is a virtue in short supply in public services, particularly among politicians and policymakers. There can be few areas where this is more evident than in education, where initiatives and overhauls of curriculums, exams and structures seem to come ever thicker and faster. A couple of weeks ago, early years providers discovered how impatient the government and its agencies are to raise standards, with the sector's record for improving the outcomes for disadvantaged children coming under scrutiny.

Where is the long-term plan on job Å creation?

  • Monday, March 31, 2014
At an event in parliament last week, young people and MPs gathered to discuss the challenge of youth unemployment. Organised by youth initiative the 99% Campaign, the panel concluded that unless speedy solutions are found to help the near one million young people not in education, employment or training (Neet), the problem could blight a generation for decades.

Labour must produce a clear vision for children

  • 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.

Creative thinking is vital for children's centres to survive

  • Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Barely a week goes by without another council announcing plans to downsize its network of children's centres. From Kent to Bradford, Northants to Nottinghamshire, children's centres, like most other local authority services in England, are being squeezed in the face of unrelenting funding cuts.

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