The Schools North East summit in Newcastle has tackled some questions that are vital for the UK as a whole and the North East in particular.
Some good sense has been spoken, especially about vocational qualifications. These still savour of second class qualifications even to those, like Tristram Hunt, who should know better.
Yet vocational qualifications should be hugely valuable, more valuable even than many degrees.
For the point of qualifications in almost every case is to provide the student with a pathway to a job. By its very nature, that pathway is defined more clearly by a vocational qualification than by any other.
Natasha Porter, the deputy head of education at Policy Exchange, who addressed this point at the summit, said she would be interested to see the manifesto for all political parties on this subject.
She’s right about that. This is a nettle that the politicians have to grasp.