The IAC is giving learners something they have not had before - a national voice. The changing landscape of apprenticeships in this country, as Government endeavours to secure the vocational route as a central pathway into fulfilling careers, requires input from those who will be affected - the apprentices themselves.
When I was a child, attending a small Catholic state primary in North Wales, our times tables were something that were drummed in to us. Teachers, and my mum, who was a single parent, knew the value of being good with numbers and being able to do your "sums". And the key to it all is practise. You can't do it without practise. But somehow we think that you can confine maths to five sessions of 45 minutes or so a week (the numeracy lesson) and that's good enough. It isn't.
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.
Childhood obesity is an increasing problem and is caused by a simple imbalance between energy in (food) and energy out (exercise and activity) and any attempt at prevention or cure needs to address this imbalance. School lunches are one key part of this equation and if schools can offer low cost, healthy meals then all would be great.
Our society sends out confusing messages about when young people become adults, what level of responsibility they should have for themselves and what role they can play. You can smoke, join the army, leave school (this school year anyway) and have sex at 16, drive at 17 but you have to wait until 18 to drink alcohol in a pub and vote. Then you hit 21 and that still retains some significance.
This week, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released some encouraging news about the state of employment in the UK - youth employment is on the up. However, nearly a million 16-24 year olds are still left without work. For many young people, this is a desperate situation. Any length of time with little or no work is an extremely difficult cycle to break.
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.
What "saved" Malala was not a knight in shining armour, but a skilled experienced team of specialised trauma surgeons and intensive care staff in the UK. That a 15 year old being shot for writing about civil rights might strike a chord with activists on these global universal human rights issues should not surprise us, except perhaps Baig and others that suggest a Western saviour complex.
Malala spoke about the threat of the Taliban on a Pakistani talk show, "Even if they come to kill me, I will tell them what they are trying to do is wrong, that education is our basic right ... If a Talib is coming, I will pull off my sandal and slap him on the face." These words from a 16 year-old-girl put the hundreds of tardy teenagers who cannot bring themselves to get out of bed for school to shame.