Thank you all very much indeed for coming to Downing Street this morning for this Education Summit. I suppose we meet in rather sombre times and I think there is a tremendous sense of national grief at the moment and, indeed, something I think more profound than anything I can remember in the entirety of my life time. Something that isn't just our grief as a nation - it is personal to each one of us. I know there are people around this table that will have met and known Princess Diana, and work that she has done. And I suppose of all the subjects that it is important to take forward, it is the education of our children and the future of our children, and this is a meeting that has been arranged for a considerable period of time and we thought it right that we continued to have it and have the discussion about how we can improve the system of our schools and the education of our children for the future. And what I would like to do, if this is agreeable to you is to try and divide our discussion into four different parts.
The first, as to how we turn around those schools that are at the bottom of the pile, those that really aren't providing the education that our children need. We can differ as to the precise number that are there but there is clearly a category which is in need of urgent remedial attention. The second, I think, is how we stretch what we might call the average child. In other words, not those that are plainly falling considerably behind and need that type of urgent remedial attention, but those that are simply doing what maybe their parents and maybe their school thinks is perfectly satisfactory. But in fact in terms of where they need to be in the future isn't really satisfactory. So, how we stretch those children and develop their abilities to a greater extent. The third thing is about teaching, the quality of teachers, how we ensure that they are well motivated, performing as well as they can and that they feel part of a partnership to improve our education system in the way that we need. And the fourth thing is perhaps as important as anything else in our schools - and how we get the right leadership into our schools.
There are many people around this table who are leaders in our communities and who are providing that type of leadership in the schools that we have. But there are many more schools where that type of leadership is lacking and where we can see who we can bring in. Because I think the one thing that any of us know as parents, let alone those in the profession of teaching, is that the leadership in the school is probably as important as any other single component, in whether that school succeeds or fails. So those now are, I think, the broad topics that we could discuss. May I ask our media people if they would leave, as this will be a private meeting. I would be grateful.