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Disillusioned with Labour's literacy drive

Teachers at Carlton Hill primary in Brighton, say that Labour's literacy strategy has been intrusive, undermined their confidence and done little to help any but the most able children.

"Children are expected to write complex sentences instead of using their creativity," said Maurice Leahy, a Year 6 teacher. "We have to tell them not to start sentences with the subject, then they open a reading book and see that Jacqueline Wilson has done just that."

The 240-pupil school serves a deprived area in the constituency of Labour MP David Lepper, a former English teacher with a majority of nearly 10,000.

Some 41 per cent of pupils have special needs statements.

Staff at the extended school want better training and more assistants to help discipline and cut class sizes at Key Stage 2.

They say standards, behaviour and pay have improved but at a cost to teachers. Louise Willard, deputy head and Year 2 teacher, said: "People at the top of the threshold find it difficult to move jobs. They have to go for leadership posts because schools can't find the money otherwise to match their salaries."

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