Don’t be fooled by Education Secretary Michael Gove’s academic demeanour. He’s not afraid to speak his mind, as demonstrated in his interview with our correspondent.
Mr Gove believes that youth unemployment in Birmingham is partly a reflection of the failure of city schools.
It’s an opinion that’s likely to spark some controversy, and with good cause.
There’s no doubt that Birmingham suffers from a low skills base, which is damaging to the economy.
Too many people leave the education system with no qualifications at all.
And it comes as no surprise that local authority and business leaders have made measures to improve skills a key part of the “city deal”, which has been presented to Ministers.
The deal sets out the powers that Birmingham City Council and its partners want Whitehall to relinquish, and the ability to take responsibility for skills and training is top of the list.
A poor skills base is bad for business and bad for the economy. It undoubtedly contributes to unemployment. And city schools are partly responsible for ensuring residents have the skills they and employers need.
But Mr Gove’s assertion that Birmingham schools are not good enough is simplistic and misleading.