The current generation of staff in education jobs have been praised as being the best ever by Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families Ed Balls.
In a televised debate, Mr Balls said the quality of staff in teaching jobs
has increased under Labour, a fact he claims is highlighted by a recent study showing secondary pupils in England are among the best performers in Europe in maths and science subjects.
Mr Balls also told the BBC's Newsnight programme: "We've got 40,000 more teachers [and] they are the best generation of teachers we've ever had.
"There is only one thing which really drives up standards in the classroom, which is great teaching."
Fellow participants in the debate, which is one of a series being held in the run up to the general election, included Liberal Democrat Education Spokesman David Laws and Conservative Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families Michael Gove.
Mr Balls has represented the constituency of Normanton since 2005.
Posted by Tim Colman