My husband and I, both retired teachers, couldn’t believe it when we read Gillian Keegan’s boast that after 12 long years of underfunding and depredation, she was proud to get school funding back to where Labour left it (Teachers, we are doing our best for schools. We don’t need the threat of strikes, 25 November). I was a primary school teacher during the last Labour government, and I remember the new money to spend on books, computers and staffing.
I also remember shedding tears when a visiting speaker showed us a big book and told us how the new national literacy strategy would foster a love of reading and writing instead of the emphasis on grammar we had had previously.
Keegan describes education as a “magic bullet” to transform lives; in Tory hands, it’s a bullet in the heart for our education system.
• Gillian Keegan explains how much she owes her career to the hard work and dedication of Mr Ashcroft, a teacher she had when she was doing her O-levels. He “changed the course of my life,” she says. It is clear that without his intervention she would not be in the position she is in now – a position that gives her power over how the likes of him are rewarded for what they do day in, day out.
If she had the chance to speak to Mr Ashcroft today to thank him, how would she explain the fact that her party has cut the real-terms pay of teachers consistently since 2010?
Midhurst, West Sussex
• As I read the article in which the secretary of state for education heaped fulsome praise on teachers, I immediately thought of the nurses’ slogan: “Claps don’t pay bills.”
Ramsbottom, Greater Manchester