Education reform must continue despite the efforts of "vested interests" opposed to change, Michael Gove has said.
Declaring that "a child's education is only ever as good as their teacher", the Education Secretary said the focus will remain on improving the quality of teaching in England.
"Our struggle has not always been easy," he said in a joint letter with education ministers from Spain and Portugal published in the Daily Telegraph.
" All of us have been opposed by vested interests determined to hold back reform, insisting that things must stay the same.
"We understand that change can be difficult. But it must happen."
Raising the standards for would-be teachers to qualify, and offering incentives to attract "the brightest and best" to the profession are measures already in place, he said ahead of an education reform summit in London today.
"Academies and free schools are designed to put power in the hands, not of politicians or bureaucrats, but teachers."
The comments come a day before a huge strike during which t eachers will join more than a million other public sector workers in a demonstration regarding disputes over pay, pensions and working conditions.
Detailing "what works in education", Mr Gove said there must be greater autonomy for heads and teachers, as well as more accountability and outside evaluation.
He said there must also be "a relentless focus on raising the quality of teaching" and "a rigorous, academic curriculum".
The Cabinet minister said he is confident "t he standard of education in our schools is already starting to rise".
"By working together, reformers across the globe can drive standards even higher, and transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of children," he added.