I was profoundly depressed to see that the Government's own figures show that almost a third of boys from disadvantaged backgrounds cannot write their own name after a year at primary school. The increasing lack of social mobility in the UK is very concerning.
These figures show that the gap between poorer children and the better-off is clear when they are only five years old. It makes me more than ever convinced that our policy of paying a pupil premium (incidentally a LibDem idea now copied by the Conservatives) to schools targeted specifically at children from the least privileged backgrounds must be right. A far better and fairer use of money in the crucial early years than Labour's absurd Child Trust Fund.
Incidentally I am currently reading Chris Mullin's "The View from the Foothills". As well as giving fascinating insight into the period when Mr Blair took us to war, his descriptions of his Sunderland constituency and the lack of any ambition from many parents for their children illustrates the challenge we face if we are to start closing a gap which has widened under both Conservatives and Labour ever since Mrs Thatcher.