The unHoudini-like Mr Lewis was joined by two students on a question-and-answer panel at last week's joint conference of the Association of Colleges and Sixth Form Colleges' Forum.
The issue of post-16 drop-outs was discussed. One of the students said a lot of her friends had dropped out not straight after compulsory education but after they started college, because they were bored. Apparently, some of them would rather wash cars.
She even suggested colleges should be made to publish their drop-out rates for the benefit of potential students.
Mr Lewis beamed like a Cheshire cat at the prospect but the assembled principals weren't so keen on the idea.
Publish information? For the benefit of students? As Sir Humphrey might say, "It would be the end of civilisation as we know it, minister".