Stalwarts of the classroom are sticking to their guns

7th May 2010 at 01:00
The TESS spoke to a group of teachers at the start of the election campaign about their voting intentions. With the polls now closed, Nick Eardley asked them if anything had caused them to change their minds

Three of the TESS's panel indicated a party preference at the start of campaigning - and all have held firm in their intentions.

Andrew Leask, an English teacher at George Watson's College in Edinburgh, said he still planned to vote for the Liberal Democrats.

"I watched all three debates and was at the BBC Scottish debate last week - Jim Murphy (Scottish Secretary, Labour) was clearly very popular, but by the end he had lost some of his supporters. The Lib Dem candidate was not a very strong orator but he won people over with his ideas," he said.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg's performance in the first two TV debates led to a surge in support at the polls, but did not persuade Andrew Morton, head of biology at Dollar Academy. A Conservative supporter, he had toyed with the idea of voting tactically for the Lib Dems to stop Labour winning his local seat, seen as a two-way race.

He said: "I listened to Nick Clegg on a radio programme and heard another commentator say that, had there been more people listening to Radio 4, Mr Clegg would have lost the election. He did terribly."

Despite having voted for the Lib Dems and Labour in the past, the Conservatives have been the most impressive throughout the campaign for Gillian Freeland, a modern studies teacher at Alloa Academy. "The Conservatives are the only ones who have stuck to their policies," she said.

Autumn Macaulay from Raigmore Primary in Inverness said: "I have been more engaged this year compared with other elections, maybe because of the financial situation and thinking about the future. It is a huge time for education.

"I have made a decision about who to vote for, but I would rather not say," she said.

As The TESS went to press, Jon Reid, head of Larbert High in Falkirk, had still not decided whether to vote SNP or Labour.

The party campaigns left Gillian Purves, headteacher of Victoria Primary in Falkirk, even more confused than before. She was particularly concerned by the Conservatives' economic policies, felt Gordon Brown had come out very badly in PR terms, and was not impressed by the Lib Dems' policy on Trident.

Undecided at the start of the campaign, she would probably vote SNP to ensure Scotland had a voice at Westminster, she told The TESS this week, but felt that the SNP's policies had been overshadowed by media coverage of its legal challenge to the televised leaders' debates.

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