Talking point

DAVID Miliband, the new schools standards minister, gave his maiden speech at last week's National Association of Head Teachers' annual conference. The TES gauged delegates' reactions.

AMANDA MARTIN-WALKER, deputy head of Beverley high school in East Riding, Yorkshire, said: "It's not just a job to him. He had a very positive attitude. I was interested in what he said about the importance of education for the working classes."

MIKE WILLSHER, head of Varna Street primary, Manchester, said: "His speech came across well, but there wasn't a lot of substance - just the same pledges we hear year in, year out."

ANNE WILSON, head of Monkseaton middle, Whitley Bay, said: "He was very much like Tony Blair - looked like him and talked like him. I hope that some of the things he said were genuine, and that he will carry them forward."

GLENDA BELL, deputy head of Horton Grange first, Blyth, Northumberland, said: "He said he was 100 per cent behind teachers dealing with discipline. It must be quite daunting to face a room full of heads. It was a good start."

BILL LOWES, head of Nightingale infants in Balby, Doncaster, welcomed support for schools faced with aggressive pupils and parents. He said:

"Sometimes we don't feel we have got the full support of most of society."

ROBERT PALETHORPE, head of Manor Leas junior, Lincoln, said: "For one so young, he needs to hang on to that vision and carry it through. And we would all approve of fewer but better initiatives."

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