Since 2001 more than two million pupils left primary school without the ability to read well. Reading well, and with enjoyment, is a skill that unlocks opportunities at school and in life. If children do not read well, and enjoy reading, by the age of 11 they are likely to suffer social, economic and cultural exclusion as adults.
So is drinking too much alcohol simply a rite of passage for our young people? Think about it, when a child learns to walk how many times do they fall over before they figure out how to use their legs? Whether it be right or wrong alcohol is a part of life in the UK and people sometimes have to get their tolerance wrong before they get it right.
Young people across the world are giving up more of their time to donate to good causes. We have already seen the masses of research and reports about Generation Y, Z, Millennials, whatever the name is you want to call the now generation - they suggest that young people now have more of a social conscience than ever and care more about their impact on the world than their wages.
Today, on International Youth Day, we're celebrating the world's largest ever youth population - now 1.8 billion strong, and the amazing impact that young people are having. 2016 has been a huge year of challenge, change and opportunity, especially here in the UK. Never has the energy of young people more relevant.
The relative newness of this type of 'gateway' into gambling means that it is difficult to prove any link at this stage. With more games and apps being produced by the minute,it is clear that awareness from the gambling industry will be key to regulation, and therefore protection of young people in the future.
It can't have escaped your attention that more and more media coverage is written about the problems facing millennials these days. I'm only 29 years old and according to these articles I should be worrying about how I'm ever going to afford to buy a home, asking whether I'll retire before I'm 75, and wondering why I still feel young but no matter how hard I try I still don't really get Snapchat.
When Napoleon remarked 'In politics, stupidity is not a handicap' I doubt even he could have foreseen the damage of blending stupidity with unmasked plutocracy and obsequious entitlement. Last week's apathetic paroxysm by British citizens was far more about the obedient breakdown of society than it was about the affirmation of our individual and collective preservation.
Facts matter in this referendum. Yet politics has always been about feelings and emotion as much as statistics and experience. Why else, for instance, would anti-immigrant sentiment often be highest in those areas with the lowest number of migrants and fly in the face of most, if not all, of the expert studies that have looked at the economic impact of immigration?
Never before have so many had to decide on something they knew or cared so little about. The "London bubble" is obsessing about the EU referendum on June 23. Parts of Twitter I see are hyperventilating with excitement over designation, debates, purdah, net costs and benefits, and the like. But the majority of the country could not give a fig.
Optimists are more likely to feel that they can take charge of their health and not just passively slide into old age. They tend to take better care of themselves too. They sleep better, don't drink or smoke too much, exercise regularly and are freer from depression. They live longer and age more gently. It's worth cultivating optimism, believe me.