Caring, passionate - give her a chance

14th January 2005 at 00:00
Patricia Towey, deputy headteacher of Childwall specialist sports college, Liverpool: "She didn't really play the parent card, or the being-young card or the female card, which I thought was good. Instead she gives the impression of being someone who is very reflective, someone who will talk to teachers. She's learned an awful lot in the short time she's had the job."

Pat Lerew, president of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers: "Her speech focused very much on the parents' agenda. I hope that as she learns more about her new role she will see matters more from the teachers' perspective."

Ninette Menenzes, a teacher at St Peter's RC high, Manchester: "We cannot judge her yet as she has only been in the office 21 days - we need to give her a chance. There was nothing new or radical in her speech but I found it very encouraging. She's young, enthusiastic and she's passionate about education."

Jeremy Fitt, director of education for Hartlepool: "She seemed caring, confident and competent. I was glad she said that there should not be a free-for-all for admissions and that parents had responsibilities as well as rights. My main concern was her stress on independence. Will she trust teachers, schools and LEAs?"

Azmat Yusaf, head of history at Plant Hill high, Manchester: "She seems very caring and people-orientated and she has a modern approach. I'd not read or heard much about her before and I was quite impressed by how eloquent she was. She's got a clear vision, with an emphasis on involving parents - and when you work in a multicultural inner-city school like mine the relationships between parents and the school are crucial."

Cliff Parry, head of maths at Loreto grammar school in Altrincham, Cheshire: "It's just going to be more of the same with her. She is going to carry on with the same kinds of policies rather than making any fundamental changes. I was disappointed with the way she responded to questions - it seemed she hadn't been properly briefed."

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