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Talking point

The TES asked delegates what they thought of the Government's record on education

Tim Cheetham, a business consultant from Barnsley: "As a primary school governor I'm delighted with what Labour has done with education. But I believe top-up fees are going to push people out of higher education. This one issue is dragging all the other successes in education down into the mire."

Ken Daniels, a local authority GMB officer from Cardiff: "The only downside is the poor pay forschool support staff. If we want people to take on extra responsibilities outlined in the workload agreement then they have to be rewarded."

Kerry Pollard, MP for St Albans and a member of the Commons education select committee: "The first time I voted against the Government it was over tuition fees. Now I have reversed my position because I see no viable alternative. Charles Clarke's arguments supporting the Government's case were excellent. People expected blood on the floor at this conference,however it has been one of the most subdued that I have attended in 25 years."

Andrew Fisher, a politics student from Streatham, south London: "The target of 50 per cent (of 18 to 30-year-olds taking part in higher education) is a good one but I don't think the Government is doing the right thing to achieve it. I oppose top-up fees because student poverty is getting worse.

The expansion should be funded through general tax."

Paulette Hamilton, a professional development officer for the Royal College of Nurses in Birmingham: "I'm from a working-class background and I'm more positiveabout private education than ever before. I can understand now why people want to send their children to a private school if they have got one at the end of their road. Children are under too much pressure today with all the testing and with Ofsted."

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