Most parents believe success in life boils down to one thing, and one thing only, a good education.
It is not exclusively the case that the straight A whizzkids who routinely missed Neighbours and illicit Benson and Hedges behind the caretaker’s shed in order to focus on advanced trigonometry homework end up the successful ones.
However, those of my contemporaries who took school really seriously 25 years ago now tend to be enjoying the fruits of their teenage labour while that is not always the case for the Herberts who used to spend their time in chemistry attaching Crocodile Clips to Miss’s frock.
And there are plenty of education professionals who will eagerly shout that we ‘could do better’ when it comes to supporting our youngsters through the 12 most important years of their life. This includes the 7,000, yes 7,000, headteachers who last week put their names to a letter which was sent out to parents, explaining what they are trying to do to tackle the funding crisis affecting so many schools.
The Government line is that more money is being spent on education than at any time in our history, with funding set to rise nationally to £43.5bn by next year but official figures are hotly disputed by those on the frontline with WorthLess?, the campaign formed to tackle the issue, estimating school budgets have been cut by eight per cent since 2010. Last autumn 2,000 headteachers, including my daughter’s, converged on Westminster to hammer home their point that some schools really are worse off than others in different parts of the country. It can’t ever be right that some children’s schools are so much more badly off than others less than an hour’s drive away. It is now commonplace for parents in some parts of the land to make a ‘suggested donation’ to the school coffers. Some parents can and will put their hands deep into their pockets but a good education in Britain is supposed to be accessible to all.
Rather than Brexit, it is this issue which should be front and centre of the national debate right now.
We owe it to our kids.