Former children's minister Tim Loughton said last week that improving educational outcomes is the key to tackling youth unemployment. He's absolutely right, and it is early intervention programmes like ours that can help to ensure the most disadvantaged young children and teenagers are able to achieve their full academic, and personal, potential.
Helping the most vulnerable children is a daunting and complex task, and there will be disagreements about how to do it. But to move forward we need to keep the child at the centre, build on the progress children's centres have made and use it to make sure all children get the best start in life, healthy and supported at home.
We're seeing government and regulators place less and less emphasis on fostering children's emotional literacy and resilience, boosting social confidence and supporting their independence - all of which a play based-approach to learning delivers. These are vital to help children not only become school ready, but life ready, too.
The gap between the rhetoric and the reality of Government proposals for children's homes is increasingly deep. I am increasingly at a loss to find a way to help Ministers find the empathy for the situation the sector now finds itself placed in. We need our Ministers to be role models of effective child care policy and practice, and essential for good residential child care is something called reflective practice.
The Head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, said on 22nd January that parents and families should take more responsibility for their own lives. It's a view I share. 4Children's own Family Commission told us that families, even very vulnerable families, want to be seen as part of the solution, not part of the problem.
It is crucial to look out there to turn around the learning if we are to re-calibrate the machine. If we as educators can't be open, radically re-learn from young people and collaborate with others out there to help fashion new digital tools and approaches to transforming the lives of marginalised young people, the queue will continue to be long and the cry that "Education, labour or the machine isn't working" will become ever louder.
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.