I'm a Conservative because I used to be a teacher. I trained as an English teacher at a challenging inner city comprehensive school - where all my students had been educated entirely under a Labour government. I saw my students trapped in a cycle of low expectations - for themselves and for their families.
I'm still a school governor at a now outstanding church primary school, and as a teacher and a governor I have seen firsthand how children's life chances can be turned around through education. Every child in our country deserves to go to a good school where they will achieve to the best of their ability. I am inspired by what I have seen can be done when high standards are applied to behaviour and a rigorous knowledge-rich curriculum, and I see no reason that all of our schools can't do the same.
A key focus needs to be literacy at primary school level - if you can't read and write, your opportunities will always be limited. I was shocked by the low standards of literacy that I saw as a teacher several years ago and, whilst I know things have improved a huge amount, we must maintain a focus on learning these key skills.
Under Conservative-led governments, schools received millions of pounds extra to support the learning of children from the poorest homes in the form of a pupil premium - although this money isn't fairly spread around the country and I want to change that. Headteachers then choose how to spend this money on targeted support to help those children catch up with their peers. This is one example of the way I believe that headteachers and teachers know best how to run their schools and how Conservatives empower them.