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Nothing adds up when it come to Balls and tough questions

I had the privilege of attending the Association of School and College Leaders annual conference last month in Birmingham where one of the keynote speakers was Ed Balls.

He impressed the audience by speaking without notes and quoting figures for a good length of time. He then took a variety of questions from the floor, which had been gathered into themes by the ASCL. His responses were disappointing and insulting.

Three aspects typified his responses. His theme was to take the moral high ground, implicitly criticising those who had the temerity to raise an issue. Secondly, he spoke of the foolishness of wanting to turn the clock back. Thirdly, he misrepresented and trivialised a number of the questions.

A key message from the questions was the truism that all colleagues working in schools know - that there are excessive new initiatives and changes in education.

Mr Balls was impervious to this, as he was to the other issues raised. The conference came in the same week that it was reported that the Government had failed to reduce the number of civil servants despite repeated promises. There is a view that change will come in terms of "initiativitis" when the number of civil servants in the Department for Children, Schools and Families and other bodies is reduced.

Sean Flynn, Headteacher, St Thomas More Catholic School, Willenhall, West Midlands.

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