We live in an era of profound and increasing inequality, at the heart of which is inequality in education. For any nation truly committed to creating a fairer and more equal society, private schools have no place... Private schools are at the very heart of a society divided by inherited wealth and privilege.
A report out this summer revealed that only 19.5% of Welsh applications to Oxford and Cambridge were successful during the 2011-12 admissions cycle, compared to a success rate of 25% for England and Northern Ireland... Welsh industry most certainly does require that top level expertise if it is to continue to thrive.
Whether you are going to university or into the job market I hope you'll set out to 'earn and learn' throughout a career that will be all the more rewarding if you do. The retail industry is a good place to do that. It is often a first job for many school leavers and it's a fulfilling place to build a career, providing a lifetime of learning and opportunities.
I think the majority of us want to see positive action against the 'glass ceiling' for women in the corporate world. It's about time sensible people ran our big corporations. However, we have an equally divisive 'glass floor' for men, which is not recognised, and yet it is causing just as much damage.
This is a perfect storm scenario. Countries such as the UK, with a history of dominance and empire and educational excellence, need to look beyond the obvious. The world is going to be a very different place in just a couple of decades. Economic and cultural hegemony is not a birthright and can easily shift to the east throughout this century.