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Talking point

Education Secretary Estelle Morris this week said as a teacher she would not touch some schools with a bargepole. The TES asked headteachers what they thought.

Trevor Averre-Beeson, head of Islington Green school, north London, said:

"It was a very understandable thing that she said. If you reinterpret her comments in a sensible way, she is saying that some schools are better than others. It's the same as saying some schools fail their inspection. We would not be in the job unless we wanted to raise standards - until you would want to touch all schools with a bargepole."

David Hebden, head of the Woodlands school, Coventry, said: "It is disappointing and unhelpful. Any school she has visited is going to think she is talking about them. I am a strong advocate of comprehensive education. We just need to be left alone long enough before some new initiative is introduced."

Liz Logie, head of Beaumont Leys school in Leicester, said: "Estelle Morris is a very commonsensical minister, but this is such an unrigorous statement to make. It's so lacking in any kind of insight. To use phrases like that is wounding. The schools she would not touch with a bargepole are probably full of chilling mental health, housing and teenage health problems."

Phil McNulty, head of Shorefields comprehensive in Liverpool, said:

"Estelle Morris is absolutely right to do away with the 'one-size-fits-all'

idea of a comprehensive and any criticism is unfair."

Bill Morris, head of Fullhurst community college in Leicester, said: "Her comments were ill-timed, ill-thought through and not at all helpful to morale. What will be the fate of those schools she wouldn't touch with a bargepole? Headteachers might not touch Estelle Morris with a bargepole now."

Steve Fernley, deputy head of Malton school, Malton, North Yorkshire:

"Estelle Morris's vision appears totally geared towards the inner-cities and is not suitable for small rural schools like ours which have to cater for all needs and abilities."

Amanda Kelly, Adi Bloom

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