22 Apr '13

News Letters: Raising achievement for all is our aim

Steve Mayers (Education needs joined-up thinking, 16 April) could not be more wrong: raising aspiration and achievement for all children, especially the most disadvantaged, is a top priority for this coalition government. Our Dux Awards scheme opens the eyes of young people to life at our best universities, including Cambridge. Last year more than 1,000 year 9 pupils from about 600 secondary schools took part and this year even more are participating. The pupil premium, a flagship coalition policy, will give headteachers across the country £2.5bn a year by 2014-15 to spend on giving disadvantaged children the best start in life.

We want all primary schools to focus on strong performance in English and maths – and are encouraging more secondary schools to offer the key academic subjects that open doors at leading universities. Many schools are already showing what can be achieved when high aspirations are set for all pupils, whatever their background. We want young people to aspire, we want them to reach their potential and we are reforming the education system to make that a reality.
David Laws MP
Schools minister

• I was struck by the comment by the "government source" to your report (Teachers may have to do more clerical work", 18 April) because it shows the administration has no idea what is happening in schools. "Teachers shouldn't be forbidden from analysing why their pupils might be struggling" was particularly illuminating. For Mr Gove's benefit, while teachers do not input data such as student absences and performance, they have access to the figures and are constantly using them in order to implement strategies for improvement. As for the comment that "all teachers who want to improve the reputation of the profession should support sensible reform": well, we have all been waiting for that for three years from this government.
Paul Redfern
NASUWT rep, Cardinal Newman Catholic school, Hove

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