The new Education Secretary, Ruth Kelly, has promised to put the "priorities of every parent" first.
Ms Kelly promised to continue reforming the system
Ms Kelly, who has four young children, said these would include the quality of teaching, classroom discipline and academic standards in schools.
She added that she would carry on the "reform programme that is making such a difference in schools".
Ms Kelly replaced Charles Clarke in a Cabinet reshuffle triggered by David Blunkett's resignation.
'A very big job'
While visiting the Charter School in North Dulwich, south London, Ms Kelly said: "I'm not going to say very much - I'm one day into what is a very big job.
"What I am going to say is that my priorities are the priorities of every
parent - rising standards in our schools, good teaching in the classroom, good school discipline so that children can really learn."
But Ms Kelly declined to answer questions on proposed reforms to exams for 14 to 19-year-olds in England, considered by many to be the most pressing issue in education at the moment.
Mike Tomlinson, the former chief inspector of schools, has proposed a four-part diploma to replace GCSEs, A-levels and various vocational qualifications.
The government will give its response in a white paper next year.
Ms Kelly said she would not comment on the issue at this stage.
She added that it was her job to make sure the talents of every
child were recognised.
She said: "I would like to say thank you to all the teachers, classroom assistants and support staff for all the hard work that they do.
"I know that they are working hard to increase standards, to help children learn well, and I would really like to thank people for that."