Plaid is level with Labour

4th March 2005 at 00:00
Teachers in Wales are happier about the way politicians handle education than their counterparts in England - but even more concerned about pupil behaviour.

The Welsh Assembly was described as excellent or good by 39 per cent of Welsh teachers, while only 28 per cent of teachers in England gave that rating to Westminster.

But not all is wonderful across the border.

Welsh staff were more worried about behaviour, with 62 per cent saying it had declined since 2001 compared with 53 per cent in England. And while they broadly supported decisions by the Assembly, they were evenly split over whether responsibility for pay should be devolved to Cardiff.

There was clearer support for abolishing national tests for 11 and 14-year-olds and replacing them with teacher assessment, an idea backed by three-quarters of the teachers.

The biggest surprise for parties in Wales will be the relative performance of Plaid Cymru and Labour. While Plaid's suport has remained almost the same, Labour's has dropped sharply, placing the parties neck and neck. If an election were held tomorrow, Plaid Cymru and Labour would get equal votes from teachers (23 per cent).

More than a third of teachers voted for Labour in the last election and the party remained the one which most felt had the best schools policies.

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