Gordon Brown today vowed to carry on fighting to take Britain through "difficult times".
The Prime Minister, visiting a new school in Manchester, ahead of his party's crucial conference in the city starting tomorrow, insisted the Government was doing the right thing by the economy and by investing in public services.
"This is the best job in the world, because every day there are new challenges but every day you get up in the morning saying, 'how can I help make things better?"' he said.
"My determination is to do the best by the people of this country."
Mr Brown, who many say must give a make-or-break speech at conference to save his leadership, has been buffeted by dire news on the economy and his own popularity in the polls.
He added: "I think we are living through quite tumultuous events in the world economy and people are understandably asking questions about what we can do to help people through these difficult times and prepare our country for the future.
"I think the public want to know what our Government is doing and what the choices are about how to improve both the economy and make sure we have the best public services we can.
"My message is we are doing everything we can to take this economy fairly through the downturn.
"We recognise people are finding it difficult with petrol prices and electricity prices and food prices.
"All these big challenges of the future, I think you will find when it comes to the choice, what we are doing is investing in the future, for everyone who plays by the rules. We are not the party of the few."
The Prime Minister added: "There is always a big job to do and it is important to recognise we are doing two things, helping people through this downturn and at the same time building for the future."
Mr Brown was accompanied by his wife Sarah on the visit, where he met teachers, pupils and local Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman.
Earlier Mr Brown had a maths lesson with a group of Year 10 pupils at the school, Wright Robinson College in Gorton.
After the class was given a lesson on geometric shapes, he told them: "Thank you for teaching me some maths."
He also dropped in on an art class, where he spoke to April Farrington, 15, who wants to be an accountant.
"We need accountants at the moment," he joked.
His visit was to officially open sports facilities at the new £47 million site - the most expensively-built school in Europe.
The facilities will also be open for the local public as well as pupils to use, with adult further education courses planned for the future.
Totally rebuilt since 1995, Wright Robinson College, which has 1,800 11-16-year-old pupils, now has the most-improved GCSE results in the country.
Unveiling a plaque to celebrate the official opening, Mr Brown said; "You never forget your teachers, you grow old but you never forget.
"When I was at school we had a motto, 'I will strive my utmost'. You have an even better motto: 'Excellence is our aim'."
Later Mr Brown and his wife left the school to travel to central Manchester, in readiness for the conference tomorrow.Reuse content