George Osborne's latest announcement is that "austerity works" as though we are all just living in a snapshot of a nostalgic poster of post-war Britain. You sit at home in your coat. Drag yourself to the cooker to pour some tinned tomatoes over some cold pasta, and try not to hurl it across the room in frustration when your toddler tells you he doesn't want it. But there isn't anything else. But aren't we supposed to just keep calm and carry on? There's nothing cosy and nostalgic about missing days of meals, turning the heating off for two consecutive winters and every bloody day and night in between.
As pupils began and returned for the start of the new school year, the true extent of David Cameron and Michael Gove's primary school places crisis has been revealed this week. More than three years into this parliament, the warnings have been loud and clear for some time. The responsibility for this crisis rests squarely at the door of this government.
Michael Gove will no doubt be giving himself a large pat on the back today after pushing through reforms to force teenagers to re-sit exams until they pass maths and English GCSEs. This may seem like a good idea, but I'm urging you to look beyond these lazy assumptions. One size does not fit all.
So Michael Gove has finally surfaced. When A-Level students received their results a fortnight ago, he was nowhere to be seen... Now when he has finally opened his mouth, it is to act as Lynton Crosby's ventriloquist's dummy. He needs to focus on the day job.
We clearly need improvements in our system of education, yet the fundamentals laid out by our much beloved Education Secretary, Michael Gove, advocates a maladroit plan of rigorous study that only to obfuscates the issues at hand.
Students around the country have this week received life changing news. A-Level results have become one of the most important moments in a teenager's life, but does the burden piled on by these exams live up to the hype? And do the effects of that pressure on the individual last way after the results have been forgotten?
The danger is that because the Government is failing to manage the bulge, schools will be forced to cut down on outdoor play space, close music rooms and libraries, or crowd children into unsuitable classrooms. All this threatens the quality of teaching and learning for young children. Labour would address the primary crisis by focussing spending on the areas of the country where there is a real need for extra classes. We would end the Government's nonsensical rules which stop councils addressing the capacity crunch head on.
Both teachers nurtured their classes, and like Mrs Oldman did with me, they pushed the children to do their best, not to vie with each other, but to want to achieve their utmost. It's not been about showing off, but about showing yourself what you are capable of.
Michael Gove and 'controversial' are scarcely left out of the same sentence. His plans on educational reform frequently cause widespread upset and he's regularly labelled as another out of touch Tory who goes against the national interest. These aren't criticisms I agree with, but nevertheless I understand the arguments against some of his propositions.
Walking around London this week, you'd be forgiven for thinking half the capital had been taken over by zombies, with tourists and locals alike standing stock still, gazing upwards with mouths agog. The reason? Not that strange orb of light in the sky we'd half forgotten even existed, but the tiny moving dots making their way up the Shard. On Thursday at 4.30am, six women from Greenpeace set out with a mission to climb London's latest addition to the skyline, with the sole intention of highlighting Shell's plans to drill in the Arctic...
Parents deserve a guarantee that school food will be high quality, and for those children and young people for whom their free school meal may be the only proper meal they get, we owe it to them to ensure that that meal is a good one. That's why Labour, along with Jamie Oliver and a number of other campaigners, has consistently called for our school food standards to apply to all schools once again.
The term 'school ready' gets bandied around a lot in early years care settings. Education Secretary Michael Gove has complained that many children arrive in school "totally unprepared to learn" and just like week Sir Michael Wilshaw, Chief Inspector at Ofsted argued that "a significant minority of children are simply not ready for school".
A recent 'National School Survey' by Stonewall has alarmingly revealed that: almost two thirds of young gay people at secondary school, some 150,000 people, have experienced homophobic bullying. In faith schools that figure rises to three in four.
It will be tragic if community schools that currently serve their local population without discrimination and see themselves as the hub of local life are transformed into ones that serve one particular faith group only and exclude others - be it those of different faiths or no-belief system. Let faith be celebrated in the home or in church or at Sunday school or at summer camp, but school should be the place where the whole of society comes together and interacts.
Over the last three years the Coalition Government has mounted savage attacks on teachers' pay, pensions and conditions of service. To justify these attacks and education reforms, the Secretary of State has sought to denigrate teachers and present our public education system as broken. As a result the teaching profession is now in crisis.
If you are a child born into a poor family in the UK you are less likely to do well at school, less likely to do well in life and ultimately die at a younger age. This is grossly unfair but true for thousands of our young people.