Teachers to back Labour

12th January 2001 at 00:00
TEACHERS may not love new Labour, but the party which brought them naming and shaming, targets and performance-related pay has not lost their support. More than half of teachers in the TES poll who expressed a preference said that they have the best education policies and a similar number are set to support Labour at the next election.

Labour (54 per cent) can expect more votes from teachers than the Conservatives (20 per cent) and the Liberal Democrats (20 per cent) added together. The party is by far the most popular among heads, deputies, primary and secondary teachers. Only among independent primary school teachers can the Conservatives claim greater support.

Despite giving approval to Labour's education policies, teachers are reluctant to give Education Secretary David Blunkett the credit. He is rated average by most teachers and has as many etractors as admirers within the profession.

One of the reasons for Labour's popularity is that most teachers believe that academic standards have risen since 1997. A majority of supporters of all parties agree that pupil performance has improved but the figure is highest among those who back Labour.

But Labour also appears to be benefiting from the fact that many teachers do not see any party offering them what they want. More than a third of those questioned could not say which party had the best policies on education.

Conservative leader William Hague has staked much of his party's education appeal on the "free schools" policy, an idea overwhelmingly rejected by teachers.

The Liberal Democrats are rated second best by teachers for their education policy, but they appear to find it hard to translate this support into votes.

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