Doubt and fear of getting it wrong must play on people's minds even if they are worried. Often there are no obvious, physical signs of neglect. But if a child you know shows signs of not being fed or clothed properly, is missing school a lot or is left unsupervised and alone inappropriately for their age, we urge people to alert the professionals. I remember speaking to Claire [not her real name], one of our many fantastic foster carers. She has been looking after a 15-year-old boy who came into her care about two years ago, having suffered years of neglect. She spoke of how he looked like an 'eight-year-old' because he had been so badly underfed...
This is an inquiry report in which children's homes will feel listened to and that is a very major step to healing the hurt that has been done to the sector. Whereas previous reports and discussions have included many extrapolations and interpretations of evidence here we have the transparency the sector has been seeking: evidence leads to conclusions.
Why would two-year-olds not thrive in schools? For starters, they are likely to be in nappies, have limited language and may well be drinking from a bottle. Next, they need higher ratios of staff to children as they need access to stable attachments with a key person and sensitive and responsive care from everyone.
It will be tragic if community schools that currently serve their local population without discrimination and see themselves as the hub of local life are transformed into ones that serve one particular faith group only and exclude others - be it those of different faiths or no-belief system. Let faith be celebrated in the home or in church or at Sunday school or at summer camp, but school should be the place where the whole of society comes together and interacts.