Talking point

30th March 2001 at 01:00
Comments on Blunkett's "farewell" speech to secondary heads and his record in office.

Glynis Gower, headteacher, Penistone grammar, near Barnsley, said: "I'm tired of being told I'm getting more money when I know I'm not, and I'm tired of the Government shuffling the blame to LEAs and LEAs shuffling the blame to the Government. I'm grateful for the bits of money that have come in - Barnsley is in Excellence in Cities now - but it's not my base budget. It won't put a maths teacher into my maths department. There are strings attached. Expectations are always higher under a Labour government. It's a good start but there's a long way to go."

Tony Rickwood, headteacher, Parkside comprehensive, Bradford, said:

"Blunkett has shown plenty of good intentions but insufficient delivery. It's all come a bit too late, particularly the contribution to our budgets - we could have done with that four years ago. He has come down hard on teachers and accountability, far more than I would have wanted him to."

Brian Rossiter, deputy headteacherchecking, alley comprehensive, Nottinghamshire, said: "His speech to us seemed like a culture shift - he said 'sorry'. I don't think it is because they've got an election coming up. They realise there are major problems that we're putting sticking plasters on every day and they are not helping us address them. That's the most important thing that came through."

Adrian Davies, headteacher, Caerleon comprehensive, Newport, Gwent, said:

"In Wales, we're still awaiting the arrival of a fair chunk of the money coming to us. But teachers do feel more valued."

Pamela Isles, headteacher, St Dunstan's community school, Glastonbury, Somerset, said: "I think it's accepted that we've moved forward. This is the first year we've been able to look at development for about five years. But in terms of me putting in a new computer suite, which is what I'd really like to be able to do, it's tough. The whole school needs redecorating, every office needs refurbishing and we're being given tens of thousands when we need hundreds of thousands."

Nic Barnard

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