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Councils need help to beat child poverty rise

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  • Monday, April 28, 2014
Projecting what will happen to child poverty figures between now and 2020 is a difficult task for the statisticians and number crunchers, let alone politicians and campaigners. So pronouncements on what the future holds have to be treated with a hefty dose of caution, particularly with a general election not far away.

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.

Openness should nip extremism in the bud

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  • Tuesday, June 25, 2013
It is just over a month since the murder of Woolwich soldier Lee Rigby shocked the country, and then triggered a spate of reprisals. In typically strident-sounding fashion, the government set up a "taskforce" - the crisis-management response tool of choice for politicians these days.

We need young people ?on board, ‘warts and all'

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  • Monday, April 15, 2013
Seventeen-year-old Paris Brown quit as the country's first youth crime commissioner in Kent just days after her appointment for posting offensive tweets in her younger days. Her posts were stupid and naïve at the very least, but how many people's adolescence, past and present, are completely free of stupidity?

Education for offenders has to make the grade

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  • Tuesday, February 19, 2013
The government's desire to put education at the centre of youth custody and tackle the stubbornly high reoffending rates - still in excess of 70 per cent - is, on the face of it, welcome.

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.

Riot response requires long-term solutions, not knee-jerk policies

The violence across English cities this month triggered its own riot - of condemnation, debate and knee-jerk policy pronouncements. In the days that followed the first outbreak in Tottenham, an exercise in national soul searching took place through the media. Yours truly, for one, did the breakfast TV paper review on Sky News.

Embarrassing custody rates require creative solutions

The high number of young people held in youth custody in England and Wales has been a cause of national embarrassment. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has quite rightly raised concerns at the levels of young people held in our youth jails in its recent reports. Despite impressive reductions in recent years, more than 2,000 under-18s were in custody in May.

Tragic deaths in custody point to a system in need of reform

Five young people in custody died in the space of just 33 days during March and April. The tragedies mark an exceptionally horrific spell in the youth prison system. To put it in context, no more than five teenagers have died in custody during any entire year since 2005, when the figure was nine.

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.

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