‘I am the mouthpiece of teachers and heads…I know what’s being said’

After more than 30 years in teaching, Thelma Walker first entered politics to challenge Michael Gove’s targets culture – now, as a Labour MP and member of the Commons Education Select Committee, she is embracing her role as a ‘protector of the teaching profession’, she tells Martin George

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“I feel almost like I am protecting my profession, really.”

After more than three decades as a teacher and school leader, and with classroom experience that covers the pedagogical spectrum, few people are in a better position to fulfil the role of the profession’s protector in Parliament than Thelma Walker.

In one of the biggest surprises of last year’s snap election, Walker overturned a 5,000 Conservative majority to win the West Yorkshire seat of Colne Valley for Labour.

It is an area she knows well, having lived and worked there for most of her life, and it is a landscape familiar to ...

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