Teachers are under fire. The Chief Inspector of Schools in England has commented that, if teachers want to receive pay rises, they should work longer hours, staying on in school after the final bell has gone each afternoon.
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.
If you're a parent whose child has just completed their first weeks at secondary school, your son or daughter is beginning a journey through one of the most formative periods of their life.
Are children who don't attend school really troubled as the government would have us believe? Or is there more going on behind closed doors which impacts on their ability to do well in school?
The truth is, though, teachers are stressed. Last year, Channel 4 reported that there had been an 80% increase in teachers committing suicide. The increase meant that suicide figures for teachers are now 30 to 40% higher than the national average.
A spokesman from the Department for Education said, "It's right that minimum expectations of schools should continue to rise." In addition Michael Gove, the Education Secretary has said in the past that he wants to abolish GCSE's and introduce 'explicitly harder' O-Levels.
Having trashed teaching qualification (QTS) by telling academies that they could appoint teachers without QTS qualifications, Michael Gove is at it again, this time telling teachers how to teach mathematics. Whatever next? Andrew Lansley telling doctors how to treat patients?
As the London Olympics close no one is doubting they have been a huge success. Team GB have finished an unprecedented third in the medals table, fantastic crowds have turned up to watch, huge television viewing figures have been attracted and people young and old have been inspired to somehow get involved.
The decision by Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, that Academies can appoint teachers without formal teaching qualification (QTS), was characterized by the Department of Education as no big deal, and that most teachers will continue to have QTS qualification.
Devaluing QTS at this time will only serve to hammer home what many people have thought for a long time - anyone can do it, and so they do. Anyone who remembers the government call for parents to fill in for teachers on strike will understand just how ridiculous the notion is.
When someone recently told me a local secondary school used a dildo to demonstrate how to put on a condom during their PSHE (personal, social and health education) class, my jaw hit the floor with incredulity.
Having just been at the national opening ceremony of the Teach First Summer Institute 2012, I have been considering the fate of all 997 of those smiling, fresh-faced new teachers. They are about to embark on one of the hardest journeys a young professional can experience; they are about to start teaching in tough, inner-city schools.
One of the most detrimental periods in a child's life is the summer holiday. It is soon to be an issue that will impact many children in Britain, as schools will soon break up for summer; and learning will slip a dramatically. The summer learning loss is one that currently has negative consequences in later life, and must be dealt with immediately.
Britain is experiencing the Age of the Amateur. Qualified experts, specialists, practitioners operating within established, well-regulated trades; these professionals have had their day. True integrity and nous belong to the volunteer, the have-a-go hero. At least, this seems to be the accepted wisdom of the Cameroons. And the result is a crisis of professionalism that threatens to undermine Britain's public and private sectors.
This is not a good time to be a student in college or university. Stories about soaring youth unemployment and scarce opportunities for graduates pepper the news bulletins. Ours is a generation with less of an idea of how our lives will pan out than any before us. No wonder we feel cheated.
Let's be frank, most businesses aren't looking for new starters who have an A* GCSE in 'global citizenship'. They need work ready employees who can write a properly punctuated sentence, free from spelling mistakes, and one who's mentally able to work out a simple maths problem.