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Talking point

Delegates at Harrogate and Bournemouth tell The TES their views on national tests, funding, six-term years and merging the main classroom unions.

NUT member Julie Lyon-Taylor, a peripatetic special needs teacher in Liverpool: "I withdrew my own children from tests and it did not do them any harm. These tests are not there to help children - there is no benefit for them. They are there as a weapon to be used against teachers."

NASUWT member Paul Johnson, Samuel Whitbread upper school, Bedfordshire:

"There should not be a test boycott until we have decided what should replace them. We need someone to investigate what assessment is really needed first."

NASUWT member Jean Campion, Year 1 teacher at Mount Pleasant primary, Newport, Wales: "I might support a boycott. After we got rid of KS1 SATs in Wales it made the pupils so much more relaxed, and we have not had any problems keeping track of their progress without them."

NUT member Anne Broomhead, from St John's CE primary, Salford: "At first our head was over the moon thinking we were going to get more money but now we have worked out the figures I think we are going to be pound;30,000 down, the equivalent of an experienced teacher. If we are pushed far enough we might have to take action over funding but I would prefer negotiation."

NASUWT member Grant Smith, a humanities teacher at Torells secondary school in Grays, Essex: "The unions should definitely merge. When we last went on strike nobody noticed because the NUT made it optional for their members.

If we had all done it would have been different."

NUT member Andy North, a physics teacher at Arthur Terry school, Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham: "If we have got a bottomless pit for war I don't think there is any excuse at all for anybody in education to tighten their belts."

NASUWT member Maureen Fox, a secondary English supply teacher in Nottinghamshire, on a super-union: "Since the arguments over the workload agreement it looks like the idea has burst apart. It's a shame, but if unions can't agree on that there's no chance of it happening."

NASUWT member Catherine Pugh, languages teacher at Torells secondary in Grays, Essex, supports changing the school year. "I think it would be easier for the children if the terms were shorter, so yes. There should be a national agreement on how it would work."

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