Backlash against Labour

6th April 2001 at 01:00
TONY Blair is due to speak for the first time to a classroom teacher union next week, as a poll shows Labour is losing support among the profession.

The Prime Minister is expected to address the Association of Teachers and Lecturers in Torquay.

The NOP poll findings were announced on the day he confirmed June 7 as the date of the local and, most likely, general elections. The poll found that almost a third of teachers in England and Wales did not rate the education policies of any political party. A further 22 per cent said they did not know who had the best policies. Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of the 1,000 teachers polled last month said Labour had the best policies - the highest approval rting that any party achieved. But only 42 per cent said they would vote Labour, compared with 57 per cent who voted Labour in 1997.

Both the Tories and Liberal Democrats picked up support in the poll of National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers members.

Each gained two percentage points with the Tories moving up to 11 per cent and the Lib Dems to 19 per cent.

The proportion of people who were undecided, or who could not remember how they voted, jumped dramatically - from 3 per cent in 1997 to 14 per cent. More than 60 per cent of those polled said that they had considered leaving teaching within the past five years. The key reasons were workload and paperwork.

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