Latest Updates

Is Northern Ireland ready to go back to school?

17 Aug 2020 Ryan MillerEducation, Equality, Covid-19, Social Policy

Every day's a school day

The local R number is above one, which is a potential disaster given schools are supposed to open their doors in a week or two. Renewed restrictions elsewhere could be needed.

End the dithering: time to fix social care

14 Aug 2020 Nick GarbuttHealth, Health; Social Care

When the history of the pandemic comes to be written the most disturbing chapter of all will be devoted to the plight of the old and the vulnerable.

Education relies on pupils’ mental health

11 Aug 2020 Ryan MillerEducation, Inequality, Equality, Social Policy, Mental Health, Wellbeing, Covid-19

Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash

Local children will soon be back at school. Catching up on education is vital – but so is pupils’ mental health. Scope looks at a new report from Barnardo’s NI that gathered evidence from teachers and other education staff.

The impact of COVID-19 and educational attainment in NI

7 Aug 2020 Nick GarbuttEducation

Sean McKay, former Director of Audit at the NI Audit Office argues that the status quo is not an option for our education system when schools return.

The economy: the long, hard road ahead

7 Aug 2020 Nick GarbuttEconomy

It will take Northern Ireland’s economy  between four and five years to recover from the Covid-19 economic crash, according to an Ulster University report released this week. 

Covid-19 and our young people: Don’t. Look. Down.

5 Aug 2020 Ryan MillerInequality, Young People, NEET, NEETs, Economy, Social Policy, Climate Change, Covid-19

Don't. Look. Down. Oblivion - image by by Carlos Delgado; CC-BY-SA

The pandemic has highlighted many economic weaknesses. A terrible downturn is inevitable, and young people will be worst affected. Throw in other factors, like climate change, and new thinking seems necessary.

Why Boris needs to join up the dots on obesity

31 Jul 2020 Nick GarbuttHealth

It may have been a giant leap for Boris Johnson, but his plans to help us lose weight are but a small step in the battle against obesity.

Staycations, beaches – and millions of pieces of plastic

28 Jul 2020 Ryan MillerEnvironment, Social Policy

A seal tangled with plastic near Rathlin Island

Northern Ireland’s coastlines are beautiful. They are also strewn with litter. We all need to think about plastic waste.

On Kindness: rediscovering human nature

24 Jul 2020 Nick GarbuttPolicy, Sector Issues

What if the spontaneous outbreaks of kindness which have been such a feature of the pandemic were shown to be a true reflection of the human condition, not just a response to a crisis?

Should Northern Irish children sit transfer tests this year?

21 Jul 2020 Ryan MillerEducation, Social Policy, Inequality

Photo by Angelina Litvin on Unsplash

Covid-19 has left children out of school. Parents are petitioning for academic selection to be significantly delayed - or simply cancelled - for the coming year.

Facemasks: the facts

17 Jul 2020 Nick GarbuttCovid-19

The controversy over facemasks is emblematic of the dangerously shambolic government response to Covid-19. And it's not just public health that’s at stake. 

Hey, remember Brexit?

15 Jul 2020 Ryan MillerSector Issues, Brexit, Economy

2020 is our annus horribilis. Until, perhaps, 2021.

Audit Office publishes new guidance on whistle blowing

3 Jul 2020 Nick GarbuttPublic Sector

New guidelines on how public sector bodies should deal with concerns raised by staff and the public have just been published.

Northern Ireland is failing children with special educational needs

2 Jul 2020 Ryan MillerEducation, Health, Mental Health, Social Policy

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

The Covid-19 pandemic has drawn attention away from the ongoing crisis of SEN provision in the education system. There is no easy fix.

Shades of Green: Ireland's recovery plan

26 Jun 2020 Nick GarbuttEnvironment

The argument for a green recovery to the pandemic is growing across the globe, as Scope reported last week.

Childcare is infrastructure - investment is essential

25 Jun 2020 Ryan MillerSocial Policy, Education, Health, Economy, Mental Health, Sector Issues

Photo by Kelli McClintock on Unsplash

The Executive has plenty on its plate but now is the time to look at childcare in Northern Ireland.

Will the pandemic lead to a greener world?

19 Jun 2020 Nick GarbuttEnvironment, Covid-19

This week 57 charities, including NI Environment Link wrote to the Prime Minister demanding all elements of any recovery package be consistent with reaching net zero emissions by 2050. 

One chance only

18 Jun 2020 Nick GarbuttPolicy, Covid-19

Quintin Oliver on how to build a better world post pandemic. 

Now is the time to take on loneliness

17 Jun 2020 Ryan MillerSocial Policy, Health, Mental Health, Covid-19

Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

Covid-19 risks an increase in loneliness. It also makes loneliness much more difficult to tackle. We have to think of ways to work against these problems – especially with Northern Ireland at risk of a coronavirus second wave.

Poverty makes us sick: time to tackle health inequality

12 Jun 2020 Nick GarbuttHealth, Social Policy

If we’ve learned anything from the pandemic, surely it is that there is nothing more important than our health and wellbeing.

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