Grammar schools can have a positive impact on the educational outcomes of children from poorer backgrounds; yet they have not done so at scale, because too many bright, deprived pupils never make it to the schools in the first place, blocked by other students with advantages such as 'pushy' parents or tutoring in the entry tests. They then end up consigned to a poorer standard of education and, in the worst cases, written off as second-class students.
In the last year we have seen this Government lurch from crisis to crisis, falling out with everyone from NHS staff, to local authorities, to teachers, and even falling out amongst themselves over the European Referendum. They've been so preoccupied with firefighting, that they have shown us nothing in the way of a vision or a long-term strategy. This Wednesday they have an opportunity to change that when they announce their plans for the next year in the Queen's Speech.
How about the Europeans with historical roots that run so deep? A little bit of change is inevitable with or without refugees, but maybe if we can do "integration" gracefully, with curiosity and decency, providing education into the benefits of secular democracy, we may discover a brighter more peaceful future.
The recent ONS figures for the September to November 2014 quarter show general unemployment is down. This is fantastic news, of course, and it rightly gained much positive coverage. But what's not so great - and was not so well-reported - is that the figures also show youth unemployment is on the rise again.
The shopping is done, the presents are wrapped and plans have been made. Yes, Christmas is just around the corner. And before we know it, we'll be toasting in the New Year. People say things tend to quieten down for businesses around this time of year, but this certainly hasn't been the case in the skills and employment arena. Quite the opposite, in fact.
School sport is exactly where we should be looking to address the discrepancy between male and female participation rates... We know that participation rates among girls are lower, but until we use data to identify and clarify the reasons behind this imbalance, it is difficult to address the problem.
You might not have guessed it from reading this week's education headlines, but schools in England are actually getting better. Nearly eight out of 10 are judged good or outstanding in the annual report from the schools inspectorate, Ofsted - the highest proportion in the watchdog's 20-year history.
At face value, the results of the OECD's PISA survey out this week are concerning. Overall the UK ranked 26th out of 65 countries. We were 26th for maths, 23rd for reading and 21st for science. The results have led to political bickering between the Coalition and Labour, each blaming the other for the UK's results.
I recently embarked on a good spring-clean of my files and book shelves at home. My main task was to thin out the serried ranks of policy and evaluation reports that accumulated during a period of freelance employment in the early to late 2000s - the high watermark of the last Labour government's investment in the arts and creative education.