Today, however, was better. Both sides debated with vigour. Gove spoke much more than in recent weeks. He (mostly) laid off the smart alec comments and focused on giving decisive answers with only a normal amount of swerving (for a politician, at least).
In recent months Parliamentary education debates have been a little, umm, staid? Gove has been in hiding, Hunt was still getting his head around the Shadow Education Secretary brief, and lovely Edward Timpson (who is great, but doesn’t have a schools role) was constantly wheeled out to pretend that policy walls built on quicksand were definitely not sinking. No-one was convinced.
In response Labour held fiercely to a few lines: lack of transparency in the Free Schools policy, worries about failing schools, and enormous concern at the 17.5% funding cut for 16-19, which is reducing the funding available for students wishing to stay at college a third year. A third year which, up until now, has always been considered an important entitlement.