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Talking point

Bob Reed, head of the Anglo European school, near Brentwood, Essex: "India and the Seychelles appear to be the only countries with sufficient numbers of maths teachers. I feel that little has been done this year other than search for staff."

Peter Arnold, deputy head of Wrenn school in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, said: "It's clearly the Hogwarts approach. Get the spell right and you won't need to worry about the funding source."

Chris Healy, head of Balcarras school in Cheltenham, said:

"The Government has made a genuine effort to improve education funding but has been guilty of careless arithmetic. There is now a real need to get back to the original programme of raising standards by improving resources, especially making teaching an attractively paid profession."

Pat Pattison, head of Pennywell school, Sunderland, said: "The education system needs stream-lining. Government deals with each issue as a separate 'problem'. Ministers come and go but coherence is needed. Staffing issues are just one piece of the jigsaw puzzle."

Andy Puttock, head of Queen Elizabeth's school, Wimborne, Dorset, said:

"Dorset has had an appalling funding settlement for so long that this year has maintained the status quo of a very poorly funded curriculum, dire buildings and very high contact ratios. We certainly cannot implement the workload reforms of 2004 without staffing cuts."

Hilary Winter, head of Dr Challoner's high school for girls in Amersham, Bucks, said: "The desire to employ additional support staff is considerable and genuine. It's frustrating to not be able to meet the desire with action. I lack money, space and resources. It's inappropriate to employ people if they knowingly are going to enter into an unsatisfactory system in this respect."

Beth Soule, head of Claydon high, near Ipswich, said: "Every fund I apply to, every initiative I try to join seems to be reserved for a specific section of the education world. We no longer operate on a level playing field."

Neil Brett, head of St Edmund's school in Portsmouth, said:

"How can I implement the workforce agreement?"

Trevor Bailey, head of Worle school in Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, said:

"Our local education authority has passed on the money we should have.

Central government has underestimated our needs."

Roland Walker, head of Morley high, Leeds, said: "We have protected staffing by cutting repairs and maintenance to the bone this year. Upgrades to classroom furniture will be virtually zero and our rolling programme of redecoration and refurnishing has been curtailed."

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