Sir Peter Lampl wrote for the Sunday Times on the importance of more excellent teachers.

‘The only way you’ll ever go to Oxford, my boy, is on the bus!” These were the disheartening words of my physics teacher. Although physics was my best subject, it was the chemistry teacher who nurtured me to the point where I did end up going to Oxford – and not only on the bus, but to read chemistry.

We all remember inspirational teachers. Someone whose knowledge and passion inspired us to achieve.

So the findings of a report last week by the management consultants McKinsey will come as no surprise. The best education systems – such as in Finland and South Korea – are those with the highest-qualified teachers.

What makes a good teacher is hard to fathom. But there is undoubtedly a link between academic qualifications and the quality of the classroom experience. I saw this first hand during a trip to Finland earlier this year. There, the top 10% of graduates are recruited into teaching, they require a masters-level qualification, and the profession has a high status among the public.

This emphasis on excellence in teaching was recognised by the prime minister on Wednesday. He also recognised that we have an unacceptable class attainment gap, confirmed by the recent annual report from the Office for Standards in Education and – according to influential research – the widest of any advanced country. Poorer youngsters continue to underperform massively.

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