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DfE revamp offers children’s services opportunities

Ordinarily there’s nothing interesting about a government department restructure. But look more closely at what’s happening in the Department for Education and you might wonder whether there’s a sea change afoot in relationships with local services for children.

Prioritise retention of children’s social workers

Latest Department for Education workforce figures show the number of vacant social worker posts across children’s services departments in England rose by seven per cent in 2021 to a five-year high – accounting for one in six positions.

Turing programme will fail disadvantaged young people

Drowned out by the noise of Brexit and the pandemic, the government’s broken promise to remain a member of the Erasmus+ overseas study scheme has been largely overlooked. Yet, the failure to reach an agreement regarding its membership of the scheme post-Brexit, continues to have a devastating impact on young people.

University access key to success of levelling up

It is a decade since university tuition fees were raised from £3,000 to £9,000 per year. It was feared the rise would deter disadvantaged young people from going to university, yet latest figures from Ucas shows record numbers of 18-year-olds from poorer areas applied this year.

Levelling up is about more than better grades

The government’s levelling-up agenda has the potential to be a master key to unlock opportunity for children and young people and we have been eagerly anticipating the newly published white paper.

Asylum age assessments are unethical

The Home Office is clearly ramping up the use of age assessments for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, making inflammatory suggestions that predatory men are abusing the system by pretending to be children, and talk of new “scientific” methods of determining age.

Today’s big challenges need collective efforts

We start 2022 with a feeling of déjà vu. The emergence of the Omicron variant has derailed the fragile recovery from the pandemic and once again raised the possibility of children’s education being disrupted by school closures and Covid isolation.

Ministers must invest in young people in 2022

A year ago, when reflecting on the unimaginable challenges of 2020, I outlined an optimistic view of 2021 based on investment in youth services, support for young people in carving out an independent and prosperous future, and generally restoring trust within this disproportionately affected group.

Justice system needs to recognise impact of care

Intersectionality is a concept to describe the interconnected nature of social categorisations as they apply to a given individual or group, which create interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.

We must do more to support adolescents at risk

In October, the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory (FJO) published a set of papers on the theme of adolescents in care proceedings that incorporated a blend of qualitative and quantitative studies, with one notable headline finding: the number of 10- to 17-year-olds subject to care proceedings rose by 95 per cent between 2011/12 and 2019/20.