The shopping list

Name: Paul Thomas

Position: Headteacher, Dorothy Purcell junior school, Bilston, West Midlands

Q If you had David Blunkett's budget what would your priority be?

A All my feeder schools have lovely classes of 28 and 27. Then the children come here and, because I haven't got the funding, class sizes bulge to 35 or 36. The parents don't understand and think I'm the baddie. Unless the Government cuts class sizes it is wasting money at key stage 1.

Q If you had a blank cheque for your own school what woud you buy?

A More classroom assistants. Quality people, properly trained, are worth their weight in gold. They're helping us push up standards. Ideally I would have one in each class - by September I'll be halfway there.

Q What treat would you buy yourself?

A A month on Richard Branson's Caribbean island of Necker - with no phones, no post, no computers.

Paul Thomas was talking to Stephanie Northen. If you would like to publish a shopping list for education, please e-mail

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