10th December 2010 at 00:00

I predict a riot .

How journalism works, part 137. Those of us with a shred of interest in the 54 per cent of people who don't go into higher education may have been bothered by the lack of acknowledgement given to the campaign to keep the education maintenance allowance in the recent student protests.

And so the BBC was contacted and told that FE students were smashing windows, too, and perhaps their concerns should get some coverage, too. The message finally got through, and a reporter was duly dispatched to research an item about the hundreds of thousands of the poorest students who may never get a chance even to apply to university because they can't afford to complete what will soon be considered compulsory education.

Then the reporter lost her voice, and the Beeb decided it wouldn't run the story at all because the world's largest news-gathering organisation couldn't find someone else to read a script. The end.

Enough doom and gloom. Here's an emotional tribute to the power of colleges from Stephen Fry, who took a break from making ill-advised comments about women's sex drive to speak at the graduation ceremony of his alma mater, City College Norwich.

The comedian, author and TV presenter said he arrived at the college after repeated expulsions from private school and a conviction for credit card fraud, and left with a place at Cambridge. He said: "I have nothing but the most enormous admiration for the college, for the role of such colleges within society and particularly within a community such as Norwich.

"I will never forget and I will never cease to be grateful for what it did, in such a perfect way."

Well said.

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