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A decade which will be forever remembered for a global pandemic and the unprecedented public health restrictions that resulted, that put further pressure on already creaking health and social care systems.

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A woman wearing personal protective equipment including a mask, takes a child's temperature in a school playground.
A member of staff at Harris Academy's Shortland's School in London takes a child's temperature while wearing personal protective equipment during the children's return to school in June 2020 after a three month-long closure due to Covid-19 lockdown measures. CREDIT: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

UK feels impact of global pandemic

In response to a rapid rise in infections and deaths (4,426 people in the UK had died by the end of March within 28 days of testing positive), the government announced on March 23rd 2020 an unprecedented lockdown in England to halt the spread of the Covid-19 virus. The lockdown saw the closure of non-essential high street businesses, schools, indoor sports venues and other activities. People were advised to work from home where possible and to avoid public transport. The NHS also advised anyone aged 70 and over to stay at home as much as possible and to practise social distancing.

The government announced a series of schemes intended to support people during the lockdown. This included a financial support package for businesses affected and a furlough scheme intended to help companies retain staff. The lockdown lasted until June 2020 with further national lockdowns introduced in November 2020 (one month) and again in January 2021 (three months).

Bringing the sector together for change

We mobilised over 150 children and young people’s organisations and published a shared vision for recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, to make sure that young people were supported to: recover their mental health and wellbeing, make up for lost time in education, and prevent children in their early years from having their development held back. Read the vision for recovery here.

Securing mandatory sex education in all schools

From September 2020, relationships and health education became statutory in primary and special schools and relationships and sex education and health education became statutory in high and special schools, following decades of campaigning by NCB’s Sex Education Forum.


Making the health needs of children a political imperative

After nearly a year of collective effort by the children's sector - led by the Children and Young People’s Health Policy Influencing Group (HPIG) - babies, children and young people become an integral part of the Health and Care Act. These commitments ensure that there will be a focus on babies, children and young people in the new Integrated Care Systems (ICS), as well as within DHSC and NHS England more widely. Find out more

This work followed the launch in 2013 of the Children and Young People's Health Outcomes Forum, co-chaired by NCB and CDC Director Dame Christine Lenehan and a seminal report we published in 2014 on child and adolescent health in collaboration with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health called Why Children Die. Read it here.

Report front cover with title Why Children Die

The biggest rethink of children's social care in a generation

The Independent Review of Children's Social Care was led by Josh MacAlister between July 2021 and May 2022 and was the most wide-ranging rethink of children's social care in more than a generation. In November 2022, we organised an event on behalf of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children focused on children's social care reform, with a panel of experts that included Josh MacAlister as well as the Chief Inspector of Ofsted, the Children's Commissioner for England, the Director General of the Department for Education and the shadow Children's Minister in addition to the Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing giving her first public speech. Read about the event here.

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In this clip from a Channel 4 News report from 2023, chair of the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care Josh MacAlister warns of the potential impact of not implementing the findings of the review and making urgent reforms to the social care system. The clip also features an interview with a young care leaver, Casey Armstrong, who has managed to defy the odds but at huge personal cost. CREDIT: ITN/Getty Images


A major win for familes with bereaved children

The government agrees that cohabiting parents and carers will be able to claim the same bereavement benefits to help bring up their grieving children as married couples or those in civil partnerships, the culmination of a long campaign for justice for bereaved children led by the Childhood Bereavement Network. Read more here.

ABA extends reach into Northern Ireland

In May, the Anti-Bullying Alliance announced it would extend its policy and practice work to Northern Ireland, following the closure of the Department of Education-funded and NCB family member Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum earlier in the year. Read more here.

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To commemorate the landmark of reaching 60 years, we made a film, with the help of Speedwagon Productions. It's called National Children's Bureau: 60 years of Driving Change and you can watch it here.

NCB is sixty years old, but forever young!

In 2023, NCB celebrated its sixtieth anniversary and we marked this milestone with a range of digital and live events and activities, including working with the University of Kent and Effusion to create this interactive timeline! You can read more about our 60th celebrations here.

Animating our anniversary

To mark the occasion of our 60th birthday, we commissioned the design and animation of a special graphic identity to use throughout our celebrations. Many thanks to brand and design agency Lantern for creating this for us.

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2024 and beyond…what will the future hold?

Just as Dr Mia Kellmer Pringle was unaware exactly what impact NCB would end up having when she began work as our first director in 1963, we can't say today what tomorrow will bring, but we’re pretty sure that the work of the National Children’s Bureau - bringing together people with experience and expertise, delivering programmes to help children and young people most in need and aligning policy recommendations with our own evidence - will still be needed as much as it as has been for over six decades.

But we would love to know what you think is most urgently needed to improve the lives of babies, children and young people.

Why not email us at or tweet us at @ncbtweets and share your thoughts, ideas and experiences.