Be careful what you wish for

7th January 2005 at 00:00
Henry Gowland, head of maths at Costessey high school, Norfolk. "The Government needs to tackle the serious problems facing maths and science, introduce different 'pathways' for people with different levels of interest in subjects, and reconsider its decision not to increase salaries."

Bethan Marshall, English education lecturer at King's college, London: "I hope the Government learns from our Celtic neighbours on assessment.

Scotland and Wales have learned that tests damage the breadth of the curriculum. They have scrapped the testing regime and are putting the needs of the pupils above accountability measures for schools. If parents elsewhere in the UK can get behind changing the system, why do ministers think the English will be any different?"

John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association: "I would like all three parties to put the implementation of the Tomlinson recommendations on secondary qualifications into their manifestos. I want to see the Education Bill go through Parliament before the election, so that changes to inspection, which introduces a more grown-up system of self-evaluation, can be implemented quickly."

Steve Sinnott, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers: "I want to see an election result that brings us a Government which will reduce class sizes for all and bring down the barriers that prevent any child achieving his or her potential. I want all teachers' organisations to recognise that unity is strength. I want the peace process in the Middle East to get back on track. And I'd like to see Everton win the Premiership."

Judy Moorhouse, chair of the General Teaching Council for England:

"Priority should be given to assessment for learning in schools, using tests to decide how teaching should progress for the child, rather than the focus on external tests and exams.I would also like to see a judicious use of league tables. The Government has to put more faith in the professional judgement of teachers."

Max Lozinski, 18, a Year 13 student at Balcarras secondary, Cheltenham: "I would like more freedom of choice in A-level courses, so that students could make their own decisions on which modules they want to study. This might be difficult for schools to manage, but it would make things more like university study. I'm not sure the idea of being able to take exam modules as often as you like is a good one. It puts pressure on teachers if you can retake papers time and again, so maybe that's something I'd change."

Chris Houlihan, 16, a Year 12 student at Costessey high, Norwich: "I would like to see less emphasis on information technology in schools. If you're looking for information, it's too easy just to cut-and-paste stuff from the internet. Computers are very useful, but I think they can also hinder social interaction between pupils. Sometimes, if you're doing project work in lessons, everyone will go off to the computer and do their own thing, rather than working together. It's a shame."

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