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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.

Why should the young have to conform?

I have just read Helen Reddington's book The Lost Women of Rock Music, which traces what happened to the influx of female musicians who entered the business in the 1970s and early 80s.

It's time to respect children's rights

You wait ages for one 20th anniversary, then three come along at once. We've just marked the fall of the Berlin Wall and the 1989 Children Act. And this week it is 20 years since the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child came into existence.

Education is the antidote to racism

The bear-baiting of British National Party (BNP) leader Nick Griffin in his recent appearance on Question Time did nothing to advance race relations in our country.

The next commissioner needs bite

The Department for Children, Schools and Families has fired the starting gun to recruit a children's commissioner for England to succeed Sir Al Aynsley-Green early next year.

Focus of spending must be balanced

It's official: the UK spends more money on child welfare and education than the average market economy. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report out last week, we spend just over 90,000 per child from birth to 18 compared to an OECD average among 30 member countries of just under 80,000.

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.

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.

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.

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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