Michael Crowhurst is a history teacher at Kingsbury School and Sports College, a comprehensive in Birmingham, and is currently on the first year of the Teach First programme. He asked the question about improving educational opportunities at the BBC Leaders' Debate last week.
Last Thursday I was fortunate enough to ask a question at the final Prime Ministerial debate. As a new teacher on the Teach First scheme, which places graduates in the most challenging schools, I was keen to ask the leader of each party what they would do to improve opportunities for the children I teach, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
I was impressed by the commitment the leaders showed to education and their recognition of its importance in society. However, I felt that the extent of the divide between the parties on how best to improve our schools, only demonstrated the contentious nature of the issue.
I believe passionately that education is the most powerful and effective force for change. If this is true, then it seems completely unacceptable that our school system should still present such huge differences in opportunity for young people. I was lucky enough to go to a state school which gave an excellent education to pupils from a wide variety of backgrounds.
My desire to teach in an inner city school, where pupils are at risk of educational disadvantage, is driven by the idea that they deserve no less. I think that we can and should be doing much more to improve the quality of education for those who need it most.