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Childcare provision is good but there are problems with affordability and sustainability
Last month, Employers for Childcare released their ninth annual NI Childcare Cost Survey. The burden on families is enormous - but providers are also under huge strain. Reform (financial assistance and restructuring) is required.
Quality of life is easy to understand but difficult to pin down
Reform is possible in NI, even without a government. Officials last week published a paper seeking to understand what is meant by “quality of life” – with the ultimate aim of improving the lot of adults and children with disabilities.
Teach your children well: the science of lasting peace
Experts from Northern Ireland have helped write a landmark paper which could help to build a more peaceful world.
More Traveller voices should be heard in education
Traveller examination results are not where they should be. This is not an insoluble problem, good work is being done, but we would do well to listen more to the views of the Traveller community.
Human Rights in NI – sleepwalking towards disaster
The Human Rights Commission published its Annual Statement this week. We have plenty of problems, too few solutions, and the problems stemming from our lack of a government only ever grow in number.
Public transport is about access – we need to measure it that way
NI’s official annual transport statistics were refined earlier this year. However, from the public perspective, they do not tell us enough.
Improving mental health outcomes will tell us a lot about society
This could prove to be a good week for mental health provision in Northern Ireland. Maybe. Not just because of more money for services - the City Deal could help, too. And it might have to.
Smacking children leads to a more violent society
In Northern Ireland, parents are still allowed to use corporal punishment as long as it is "reasonable chastisement". New research suggests this leads to more violence among young people than if it was banned outright.
Education in NI is ready to snap
Schools are saving money by cutting teaching hours - in other words, by providing less education. Urgent change is required.
Over-medication is a symptom of our failing children's mental health service
Other services have huge waiting lists but prescribing drugs to treat mental health problems takes very little time. Given the sector's fundamental lack of resources, an over-reliance on medication is unsurprising - but it needs to stop.
Behind the numbers: jobs in our changing economy are at the mercy of powerful, competing forces
Industry leaders are optimistic about the potential for automation, predicting it will create more jobs in the next few years than the tens of millions it will displace. Is this optimism meaningful?
How NI's education system still falls short on relationships and sex
More young people in the UK are contacting Childline because of issues around consent and peer sexual abuse. Here in NI, our ethos-driven schools system fails by design.
The Red Cross you might not know
As image concerns go, it's a bit different; the Red Cross is a world-famous organisation held in high esteem. However, most awareness concerns the work in the world's worst disaster zones. Their day to day is less spectacular but just as important.
Modern media and self esteem
More young people are calling Childline due to eating disorders. Media can affect self esteem - but while it is fair to ask for certain standards from providers, it is more important to prepare young people for life in the digital age.