Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at support for foster carers and the publication of the Hampton-Alexander review.
Today, Thursday, 9 November, there have been reports of a letter sent to Minister Goodwill from several foster carer and children’s charities calling for the Minister to allow foster carers access to the 30 hours free childcare offer for their foster children.
At the moment foster carers are entitled to 30 hours free childcare for their own three- and four-year-olds and additional support for their foster children including 15 hours free childcare for three- and four-year-olds, a national minimum allowance and tax benefits.
The letter, which we will be responding to formally, was signed by representatives from Action for Children, Become, the British Association of Social Workers, the Fostering Network and the Care Leavers Association. This has been covered by the Guardian and the Times.
Children and Families Minister Robert Goodwill said:
Foster carers play a vital role in supporting some of our most vulnerable children and it’s vital that they are given effective support.
That’s why children in foster care are already entitled to the universal 15 hours free childcare and also receive funding and support for the care of their foster child, including a national minimum allowance, and favourable treatment in the tax and benefits system.
We are in the first term of the 30 hours free childcare offer and we will continue to keep the policy and how it works for families, including those fostering, under review.
Publication of Hampton-Alexander Review
The Hampton-Alexander Review, was commissioned by the government to look at ways to ensure talented women at the top of business are recognised, promoted and rewarded. The review was chaired by Sir Philip Hampton and the late Dame Helen Alexander, and published in November 2016. The key recommendations were:
- 33 per cent target for women on FTSE 350 Boards by the end of 2020;
- 33 per cent target for women on FTSE 100 Executive Committees and Direct Reports to the Executive Committee on a combined basis by 2020;
- FTSE 350 companies to increase number of women roles of Chair, Senior Independent Director and into Executive Director positions on their boards.
The review report published today shows that progress has been made, with almost 28 per cent of board positions in FTSE 100 companies are occupied by women - up from 12.5 per cent in 2011. In that time the number of all-male FTSE 350 company boards fell to just 10 from 152.
This means that, with continued efforts, FTSE 100 companies are on course to meet the review’s 33 per cent target for women on boards by 2020.
However, there is still much more to do, which is why Sir Philip Hampton today called on FTSE 350 companies to quicken the pace of change on boards and extended the 33 per cent target to senior leadership positions of all FTSE 350 companies. Previously this voluntary target only applied to FTSE 100 firms. He said that at least 40 per cent of appointments to senior positions will have to be filled by women over the next three years if FTSE 350 firms are to hit the ambitious targets.
Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Justine Greening said:
Tackling inequality in the boardroom and ensuring more women get into senior leadership positions is not just good business sense, it is vital to our economy.
It is great to see some of our top companies really stepping up to address gender imbalances on their boards. We are making progress, but there is still a long way to go.
That is why we all need to do our bit to improve workplace equality. The government is continuing to work with business to help remove the barriers that can hold women back in their careers. This includes being one of the first countries in the world to require all large employers to publish their gender pay and bonus data.