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.
Whilst protest kissing isn't a new thing, two Russian athletes, Tatyana Firova and Kseniya Ryzhova, kissed on the podium after winning a medal at the World Championships; most have assumed that this was in direct protest of the Draconian law. But today, there is some speculation that the kiss wasn't a conscious protest at all...
Many commentators have observed that the proposals seem at best an impractical use of resources and at worst deeply patronising. The complications of implementing the policy seem to make it a difficult one to advocate; is a child defined as poor if they attend a poor school or come from a poor family?
Ukip opposes any kind of aspiration-killing policy, such as Labour's oft repeated dream of punitive taxation, because it does not drive people to want to better themselves, thus killing social mobility and innovation. Ukip wants people from all backgrounds to have the chance to be more socially mobile.
Yesterday was the 10th international Safer Internet Day, the day to create awareness about online safety issues - there are lots of great resources being publicized for anyone who uses the internet. Of course there are plenty of basic resources available to protect internet users and students of all ages.
Ideally the comprehensive system should improve itself so that its schools could provide an education equivalent to the private schools. But this is never going to happen. It could happen, as it does in other countries, if there were no strong private school sector. But the comprehensive system is simply not designed to compete in this way and cannot by its nature.
In the mid 1960s, following a recommendation from the then Department for Education and Science (in a circular entitled "Spreading the Children") two local authorities with high ethnic minority populations - Ealing and Bradford - decided to introduce bussing. Little archival information exists about bussing in Bradford but records in the National Archives show that in Ealing the policy was toxic.
We are all too aware of the necessity for there to be more vigour and energy behind goals targeted at giving all children access to a free primary education. We are also aware of how important it is that additional resources, such as the new ambition behind 'Education First', are put towards helping the disadvantaged and most in need, first.
To NCSL and OFSTED I say thank you for putting homophobic bullying on the agenda, now let us all be courageous, make a difference and change the lives of countless children (and also of many teachers and parents) for the better. Let our schools lead the world on this vital issue. Schools that fully include and represent all pupils see standards rise - what better driver could we need?