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Teaching Quality

Part of Opposition Day — [19th Allotted Day] — UNHCR Syrian Refugees Programme – in the House of Commons at 5:33 pm on 29th January 2014.

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Photo of Pat McFadden Pat McFadden Labour, Wolverhampton South East 5:33 pm, 29th January 2014

I very much welcome this debate and the emphasis that my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent Central

(Tristram Hunt) has placed on teaching standards and quality. Teaching is a tough job, and those who devote their lives to helping children deserve our respect and admiration. I think we all remember the particular teachers who inspired us. I remember Jack McLaughlin, my English teacher at Holyrood secondary school in Glasgow, who taught me more about the love of words than anyone else I have ever met. So, good teaching can be inspiring, but poor teaching leads to lack of opportunity and to unfulfilled lives.

Just before Christmas, Ofsted produced its annual report. In it, a table shows the proportion of children in each local authority who go to good or outstanding schools. It shows that primary school children in my local authority area of Wolverhampton have a lower chance of going to a good or outstanding school than those living anywhere else in England. If that is not a call to action, and a call to arms, I do not know what is. Wolverhampton does have some good and outstanding schools, and some excellent, inspirational teachers. In places, it also has strong leadership that is intolerant of failure. As the Ofsted table starkly illustrates, however, it does not have enough of those things. That means that too many local children are not getting the education they deserve and are being denied the opportunity to make the best of their lives.