TONY Blair famously said that the Labour Government’s top three priorities would be “education, education and education”.

It was a bold pledge, and the reality has disappointingly failed to match the hype.

On the plus side, there has been considerable investment in school buildings and new IT equipment.

But the Government’s whole approach to education has been blinded by an attachment to endless targets, suffocating uniformity and central directives.

This matters because high levels of attainment in schools should still be the national priority.

That is partly because every individual benefits from realising his or her full potential. It is also because Britain needs to raise its performance in a more competitive world.

I have just seen a new publication from the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

It has some remarkable assertions. ‘By 2020 there will be 5 million fewer low skilled jobs in Britain than there are today’ is one. ‘The top 10 jobs that will be in demand in 2010 did not exist in 2004’ is another.

These claims may or may not prove to be wholly justified, but I agree with the central assertion that the Government is making.

The World is changing fast. New economic superpowers are rapidly emerging. Britain’s response must be seen in the workplace and in the classroom.

So Tony Blair’s priorities are as valid today as they were when he made them in 1997. But now it is even more important for the campaign aspirations to be matched to real policy achievement by the Government.