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In these weeks running up to Christmas, the problems of inequality, disadvantage and lack of social mobility in our country come into ever-sharper focus, as both our regular columnists highlight.

The Budget has come and gone. To no-one’s great surprise, despite several heartfelt and well-argued open letters from sector representatives about early years funding, the Chancellor had nothing to say or offer on this front.

It is perhaps a measure of how far the early years sector’s relationship with Ofsted has improved that after chief inspector Amanda Spielman’s speech at our Business Summit last week, there was no forest of hands wanting to complain about inadequate inspections and inspectors.

The debate over the rights and wrongs of smacking children has raged on for decades, yet very little progress has been made in stopping this unacceptable practice.

Professor Cathy Nutbrown’s review of early years and childcare qualfications in 2012 found 445 available, of which 223 were deemed full and relevant.

The title of the government consultation ‘Primary Assessment in England’ might have led the early years sector to conclude it didn’t much involve them.

‘All we need is music, sweet music. There’ll be music everywhere’, as Martha and the Vandellas sang in Dancing in the Street.

Liz Roberts looks at the lasting impact of the fall in numbers of Level 3 students

It’s very difficult to switch attention away from the start of the 30 hours implementation – understandably given its likely impact on the early years sector.

It is August, and traditionally a time when you get a chance to tidy the shelves, sort out the filing and take stock of your work before the autumn frenzy descends.

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