White working class underachievement is not simply about individual families. We must recognise the marginalisation that many communities are experiencing. Until we do this, the cycle of underachievement will continue; most importantly, the blame-game will not help the very children who we want to support to succeed.
Helping the most vulnerable children is a daunting and complex task, and there will be disagreements about how to do it. But to move forward we need to keep the child at the centre, build on the progress children's centres have made and use it to make sure all children get the best start in life, healthy and supported at home.
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".
Designed to give the UK's most disadvantaged children an academic boost, the pupil premium is a £1.25bn allowance to be spent on disadvantaged students: those eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) and children of members of the armed services. It is an excellent initiative that has the potential to genuinely improve the academic attainment of tens of thousands of children.
I do wonder whether the general perception of teachers in this country is informed largely by three main sources: Grange Hill, Teachers and Waterloo Road. It would be a real shame, when the profession has moved on from elbow patches and smoking behind the bikesheds whilst discussing a workplace romance, to see that undone by the constant barrage of generalisation about the way teachers perform.
Of late I have become fascinated with two of the main players in UK education. The Secretary of State for Education, the Right Honourable Michael Gove and the Chief Inspector of Schools, and Head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw - from what I can tell he is the only person in the UK to have been knighted without winning a major sporting trophy.