Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Round Up of 2010

As it’s nearly Christmas, it must be time for the annual round-up of major developments and new research published in the children’s sector during the last year. After all, you might have missed some of these the first time round…

What you can’t have failed to miss was the change of government following the general election in May, with the Department for Children, Schools and Families being rebranded as the Department for Education. Labour did manage to squeeze out a final piece of legislation before leaving office in the form of March’s Children, Schools & Family Act, as well as introducing a new Common Core of Skills and Knowledge for all those who work with young children, while the new government has so far passed the Academies Act (concerned with the flagship policy of ‘free schools’) and published a white paper on the future of education in the UK.

The autumn Spending Review regarding public services also had many implications for the children’s sector. The ICT agency Becta was closed (though its website is still online until the end of January), and the QCDA will be closed at the end of March, with its functions transferring to the Department for Education. In addition the GTCE was due to be wound up in ‘the autumn’ (though it still seems to be functioning at the moment), and in November it was announced that the Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC) would have its funding withdrawn, although it intends to continue as a sector skills body; the School Food Trust faces a similar uncertain future. To see how some in the children’s sector reacted to these changes, have a look at this previous post.

In ongoing projects, the Millennium Cohort Study continues to produce information on childhood in the modern UK, while the link to the latest edition of Social Trends has picked up a lot of visitors for this site from search engines! The annual Joseph Rowntree Foundation report on Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion also has plenty of useful information regarding child poverty.

Picking out a few reports to highlight from the hundreds that are featured on here each year is tricky but here goes… an Ofsted report in September picked up headlines for claiming that thousands of pupils are wrongly labelled as having special educational needs; the thinktank Demos published Born Creative in November, which called for greater emphasis on creativity in the Early Years Foundation Stage; How Fair is Britain? was the title of a report with many interesting sections for childhood and family professionals from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Closer to home, Birmingham’s children’s services received a poor inspection report in July; a link to a 1940s video on progressive education seemed popular with site visitors. And a major CfBT Education Trust report examined the effectiveness of 28 different early education programmes around the world; this is particularly relevant at the moment, given Dame Clare Tickell’s current review of the EYFS, which is due to publish its recommendations in the spring.

And that’s your lot for 2010. All that remains is to wish all site users a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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