This is a huge Government climb-down. The humiliating volte-face by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan is a result of the magnificent show of defiance by teachers, heads, governors, parents and politicians of all parties - including Conservatives - who made clear that the enforced privatisation of England's state schools would not be countenanced... Nicky Morgan needs to stop and talk to the profession to work out a clear way forward. It is time to end this ideological nonsense from this discredited Government.
Schools and parents are facing a chronic teacher shortage, a lack of school places, chaos around curriculum changes and primary tests and a funding crisis. But instead of dealing with these very real issues the Government is pursuing a top down re-organisation of education that has no basis in evidence to support it.
The Chancellor's proposals will not address the many pressing problems in education such as the teacher shortage crisis, the lack of school places and the desperate lack of funding. Nor will they address teachers' concerns about a muddled and inappropriate curriculum. They are entirely the wrong priorities.
It is not just teachers who are bearing the brunt of a system led by league tables and Ofsted results. The same pressures are felt by pupils. We now have a generation of young people who are anxious, stressed and disaffected... We are testing children within an inch of their lives and the vibrancy and love of learning that should be at the centre of the curriculum is all but lost.
Imagine, if you need to, being on below average wages and finding out that because some wealthy bankers crashed the economy you wouldn't be getting a pay rise any time soon. As I say, only imagine this if you need to. There is a very good chance you know exactly how it feels. If you work in the public sector, it has happened to you...
Who is in the right here? Hard to say. As a nation we should support the plight of teachers who supply arguably one of the most important services in the county, the people we charge with enriching the intellect of our young people. But national strikes are becoming annual events. This will be the third strike since 2011.
Teachers work some of the longest hours of any profession with many working 50-60 hours a week. Our work is essential, our pay is not high, our pensions not gold-plated and we cannot be expected to work more hours than we already do. There comes a point when it is impossible to ignore what is happening.
We've got plenty to fight against. In recent months the Tories have been very keen to talk up the so-called 'economic recovery'. George Osbourne claims that the minimal growth showing in recent figures vindicates his austerity policies. In reality, not only has the British economy barely moved from stationary to first gear.
The Sun cannot possibly continue for much longer against this groundswell of opinion. But given its stringent, seemingly intractable, position of defending Page 3, it seems that it has boxed itself in. There are rumours that News International has created a task force to look at how Page 3 could be revamped and modernised. Yet how to do this without losing face?
I am the first person to stand up and bang the drum for Newbury - we're a great market town with a great sense of community. We're above average in almost every respect - most notably in employment and affluence, yet still we seem to be letting our young people down by failing to provide them with the education they so badly deserve.