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Employers for Childcare publishes annual childcare report
The need to restructure childcare in Northern Ireland has long been ignored. But the campaign for change is building momentum.
What can’t we afford? How economic inequality is about more than paying bills
If wealth, rather than ability, drives educational achievement, we have to think hard about how we structure society to compensate for this.
Global goals lack local focus
The UN Sustainable Development Goals are nearly four years old. High-level strategies for the world (or 193 UN member nations) to build a “better and more sustainable future”. Too few people know what they are.
Teachers in our schools: the extent of the religious divide revealed
A major piece of research into the one profession where it is still lawful to discriminate on the grounds of religion has just been published.
If you want to improve the benefits system, speak up
The IFS says Universal Credit will lower the incomes of millions of people and that the welfare reform “hits the persistently poor the hardest on average.” But change is possible.
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.
Popular input makes better policy
People love the NHS and attempts at reform are often met with public resistance. However, its adaptability has been one of its greatest strengths. The response to the hyponatraemia inquiry highlights this.
Welfare Reform mitigations have problems that could be helped by an Executive
An Audit Office report has highlighted huge Welfare Reform underspend. Several NI organisations say bigger problems are coming. With no Assembly, we are rudderless – but Stormont struggled to deal with this first time round.
How NI relies on Europe for employability schemes
The European Social Fund represents a small amount of EU money – but supports a huge proportion of the schemes in its sector. Westminster’s delay on developing a replacement is worrying.
Helping young people in difficult circumstances is challenging – but organisations are well placed to assist each other
Partnership doesn’t have to mean joint projects – it can just be about regularly sharing ideas. The response of several youth groups brought together by the Urban Villages Initiative shows the value of strategic co-operation.
Happy New Year – we can make a better world, but it won’t make itself
If we continue to chase some short-term economic growth at the expense of inclusive growth we not only make things harder for the majority of people, we are creating growth that will not be sustained.
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.