AS A teacher, let me say, Mr Blunkett, that we have never considered socio-economic status as the sole defining factor in school performance.
We do recognise that poverty is one of the factors affecting children's performance in school - a professional opinion backed up, I believe, by a large body of research.
We also recognise that it is just ONE factor among many. Others include diet, sleep, age, quality of teaching, quality of parenting, and quality of political support, and many more that could be mentioned.
We are tired of this continual innuendo which blames teachers, and teachers alone, for the poor quality of children's education. Whitehall and Westminster have made our professional life a nightmare for too many years.
We get no enuine support and a great deal of ignorant criticism. We have become a convenient scapegoat for an ill-thought-out "change for change's sake" policy.
There are three partners in children's education - parents, teachers and government. All three bear a shared responsibility for the present overall state of our education system, and all three share the responsibility for improving it. Each of these three partners could spend all day griping about the other two - but to what end?
Since we are partners in one of the most important processes any community can undertake, then we have to support, and co-operate with each other.
If we don't it is the children who suffer most.
27 Main Street