It is even more damning that Education Secretary Damian Hinds is reluctant to meet protest leaders – either because he is afraid of what he might be told or because his many TV interviews trying to promote Theresa May’s Brexit plan are taking up too much of his precious time.
Like this week’s political arguments about police funding which became bogged down by statistical semantics, the same is also true of schools where the rhetoric of Mr Hinds is at odds with those heads who say they have to rely upon subsidies from parents, or other donations, to sustain some lessons.
And Mr Hinds, who replaced Rotherham-born Justine Greening in January 2018, is doing himself no favours by refusing to meet headteachers to discuss their view that funding is not keeping pace with costs.
After a protest outside Parliament last year, a junior civil servant wrote to headteachers and said all relevant Ministers were unavailable because their “time is heavily pressurised and their diaries need to be prioritised according to Ministerial, Parliamentary and constituency business”. Six weeks later, another request was again rebuffed because “diaries are very full”. Really?
Though such contempt and behaviour is expected from Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, it is not from the Education Secretary when the issue – how best to give young people the best start in life – transcends all Brexit outcomes. The regret is Mr Hinds even needs reminding of this lesson.