I forget how many hundreds of millions - ah yes, nearly a billion - have gone into Labour's anti-truancy strategy, but it's money well spent. Remember that billion next time you hear talk of 'investment in schools and hospitals'.
Truancy rates in England's secondary schools rose by over 10% last year, according to government figures.
Despite £900m spent on anti-truancy initiatives, the annual figures show the highest truancy rates since 1994.
This year's figures show that an estimated 55,000 pupils were missing classes every day during the school year - an annual increase of about 4,500.
55,000 into 900 million must be about £17,000 per truant.
And the number of university pupils from state schools is falling. Except for one part of Britain.
Universities and colleges in Northern Ireland had the highest rates.
It must be a coincidence that Northern Ireland is also the last place in the UK to retain grammar schools. Martin McGuinness, who has taught many lessons (warning - strong stomach needed) to people over the years, may not have decommissioned many IRA weapons, but as Education Minister he announced plans to decommission all the grammar schools. Mr McGuinness then lost his job when the NI assembly was suspended, but an English Labour MP replaced him and selection will be gone by 2008.
The enduring struggle to provide mediocrity for all continues.
You can't accuse Trevor Phillips of dull consistency. In February he was calling for forced segregation in schools, in September for forced integration.
And finally ... Harry Hutton (whose commenters are often as amusing as the man himself) live-blogs an air crash, while at Once More, Blimpish gives cuddly Ken Clarke both barrels. Oh, and Eric has a quote which sums up the UK pretty well (I think he approves).
They'd Be Better Off In Care...
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