If it's nearly Christmas, it must be time for the endless 'best of' and 'most important' lists that appear everywhere at the end of each year. So here's a little round up of important events within the early years, education and childcare sectors which occurred during 2009:

Surely the biggest education story of the year was the publication in October of the final report from the Cambridge Primary Review; the Review's criticisms of existing provision within primary education made the front page of many newspapers (see previous post for details). Other educational reviews that took place in 2009 included Sir Jim Rose's Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum, Sir Alan Steer's Behaviour Review, and Graham Badman's Review of Elective Home Education in England.

Another large-scale project which presented its final conclusions in 2009 was the Good Childhood Inquiry, which was carried out by the Children's Society and published its final report in February. This previous post gives you a flavour of the coverage which was generated at the time.

May saw the launch of ContactPoint, a controversial database with details on every child in England. Try looking at this post for a discussion of the issues involved (although the vote it mentions is now closed.)

Child Poverty was a constant theme throughout 2009, as it has been for several years. This year, the government made it a legal duty for the government and local authorities to eradicate child poverty in the UK by 2020. For a list of posts and links to reports on this topic published throughout the year, click here.

November saw the release of Building a Safe, Confident Future; this was the final report of the Social Work Task Force, and contains various recommendations for the future direction of the profession. The government have accepted the report's findings in full.

There were a number of new versions of annual publications which readers should find useful; if you want detailed information about education, families, social issues and more in the UK, then the 2009 version of Social Trends is well worth a look. While for information with a more global focus, UNICEF's State of the World's Children report makes for interesting reading; the theme for this year's report was a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Closer to home, it was also the 20th anniversary of the Children Act 1989, which Community Care marked with a series of articles assessing its impact.

In August the 5th annual Playday took place, and this link gives you access to a number of useful research reports which were released to mark the occasion. On a similar note, November's anti-bullying week saw a flurry of new projects and research from various interested organisations, so click here to find out about some of these initiatives. November also saw the publication of Ofsted's annual report, which was slightly overshadowed by the release of a paper from the Association of Directors for Children's Services arguing that Ofsted needed to make radical changes to their inspection model.

And a few random picks from the past year to round things off... A number of students expressed an interest in finding out about Forest Schools, so perhaps this post from May was useful for you...? Sesame Street celebrated it's 40th birthday... The magazine Children and Young People launched a series of blogs which are an excellent way of getting different perspectives on issues within the childcare sector... And only last week the newly formed UK Council for Child Internet Safety published Click Clever, Click Safe: The First UK Child Internet Safety Strategy. Yet bizarrely, for the second year in a row, easily the most visited page on this site (after the homepage) was this post from May 2008, which gives you a link to the full text of the 1978 Warnock Report.

Have I missed anything? If you'd like to draw attention to an important event or report from this year then just leave a comment below with details and I'll see about getting it published on here; here's how to do it.

The blog will be taking a break for Christmas, but will resume in the second week of January. In the meantime, take a look at the legendary Peanuts cartoon site, which will surely tell you as much about children's minds as any research. So all that's left is to wish all visitors to the site a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


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