Richard is in his early forties and went straight from school to teacher training college before starting work. He has been teaching for 21 years and is a year head at a large comprehensive school in Hertfordshire.
Something of an idealist, he admits to having sometimes gone home in despair at what could not be done for his pupils, and has ambivalent feelings on the way in which schools are selling their services to raise cash.
Brought up in a working-class family which used to vote en masse, Richard hopes he is now informed enough to make what he considers "a moral vote, a vote from the heart".
"I like to sit back and say how will it affect me, but me being with the 1,200 pupils that I teach, and how can our enlarged family all benefit.