For the past few weeks we have been treated to the unedifying spectacle of Government ministers, parliamentary committees and teachers' leaders all scurrying about like headless chickens, slavishly mouthing the mantra that they fondly believe will right all educational wrongs at a stroke - "We do not intend to permit selection by ability in state schools".
Just how was it, I wonder, that we allowed the private resentment felt by 11-plus failures towards their more fortunate siblings to grow into a "philosophy" of education that has for many years been allowed to perpetuate the fiction that all children are alike and must be treated alike?
John Prescott failed his 11-plus, his brother passed his and he and his ilk have been fighting blindly against any kind of selection ever since.
The truth is that there cannot, nor ever could be, a single educational model that suits all children, any more than there could be a single exam at 16-plus that caters for every child and to pretend otherwise flies in the face of common sense.
All children are not the same. They don't all start from the same place, have the same background, life experiences, expectations or talents.
We have to start selecting pupils rigorously - for academic ability, for willingness to attend school, work and behave themselves in class, for interest or talent in sport, computing, art, music, or whatever - and giving them the education that takes their interests into account.
There is also a case to be made for schools that cater for the deprived; schools that are run more like therapeutic communities, where intensive treatment for the social and psychological deprivation takes place alongside a regular school curriculum.
Too many children fester in ordinary schools, weighed down by other issues in their lives which must be addressed before they can reach their potential.
Forget the old cry of the egalitarians - "that's treating them as if they're different from their peers". They are different and they need help.
Just as there can be no one model of school so there can be no one model of exam for all 16-plus children.
The failed policy of making GCSE exams progressively easier to enable more and more children to pass them, the practice of introducing desperately low quality "vocational subjects," in an effort to persuade those of lesser ability or different interests that school has something to offer them, when it doesn't, must stop.
We have to have a range of exams to cater for the academically gifted, the child who wants to be a plumber, hair-dresser, engineer, plasterer, or whatever; all these exams to be rigorous and demanding, so as to give the children a leg up, either into a work placement or on the road to academic higher education.
Surely it can't be beyond us to see that each child gets on the right train to the right destination, without all the bleatings about "elitism" and "unfairness"? ..SUPL: