High expectations in our schools

I trained as an English teacher in Hackney, at the Skinners' Company's School for Girls - 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. It was that experience which made me a Conservative and education will always be a passion for me.

I'm still a school governor at a church primary school in Hackney, 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 can achieve to the best of their ability. I am inspired by what I have seen have achieved when high standards are applied to behaviour and a rigorous 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 12 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. 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.