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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.

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.

Never mind the inspectorate, recruit the right inspectors

On the face of it, the education select committee's call to split Ofsted into two separate inspectorates for education and children's care would represent a further step away from services centred on the needs of the whole child. It is a trend played out in several areas through the disappearance of children's trust arrangements and local authority children's services departments.

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.

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