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Talking point

What do leading figures in the education world think of the DfES paper's proposals to replace teachers with support staff?

Ted Wragg, emeritus professor of education at Exeter University: "This has clearly been written by somebody who has never been near a classroom. These are dangerous lunatics who should be rooted out and put somewhere safe.

This is taking teaching back to the 19th century, to Victorian times when anyone was allowed to teach."

Alan Smithers, director of Liverpool University's centre for education and employment research: "What worries me is that this seems to be driven by keeping expenditure down rather than what is good for pupils. This really does vindicate the National Union of Teachers."

David Hart, National Association of Head Teachers general secretary: "The sooner this sort of thinking is confined to the rubbish bin the better because were it to gain currency it would fundamentally undermine the workload agreement and destroy the profession's confidence in the whole workload reduction process."

Mary Bousted, Association of Teachers and Lecturers general secretary:

"Everybody has bad ideas in the bath but most of us leave them behind when going to work. The ideas in this paper are daft and the ATL would have no truck with them."

Graham Lane, Local Government Association education chair: "I think the pupil:teacher ratio should stay the same. Reducing teacher numbers is not on our agenda."

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