Teachers explain who gets their vote and why

8th April 2011 at 01:00
How do those at the chalkface plan to vote in the Scottish elections? TESS has brought together a teacher panel to see if the politicians can change their minds during the campaign

Anne Glen, 43, primary supply teacher, Aberdeenshire

"I'll probably vote Lib Dem or SNP, as my constituency seems to be between them, but the main parties don't sound very different; it would be good if they could think for themselves. This is my first year as a fully- qualified teacher. I would like a permanent job, but I've been lucky to have lots of supply - some people aren't getting any. I used to be a classroom assistant, and they are being hit harder. I want to know the long-term plans for those of us looking for jobs. Newly-qualified teachers are being guaranteed a year's work - what does that mean for people who qualified years ago?"

Paul Laird, 37, modern studies teacher, Leith Academy, Edinburgh

"I have been a member of the Conservative Party in the past, but I have also been a member of the Scottish Socialist Party, and I voted Labour in `97. I don't really know who I'm going to vote for. Right now, I would be veering towards the Scottish National Party. As a teacher, it is about things such as class sizes, working conditions and pensions, and how the cuts are going to impact on your working life. But you also then have to balance that with the wider picture in terms of what is going to be best for the country as a whole."

Alex McEwan, 57, physics teacher, Vale of Leven Academy, West Dunbartonshire

"Any time there has been an opportunity to vote SNP I have done so, and I don't see any reason to change. Michael Russell doesn't present as well as Des McNulty, but that is only because Labour can snipe from cover. But when it comes down to it, you get a far more reasoned reply from Michael Russell's side. I really don't see that Labour is offering any viable alternatives; I do believe their links with Cosla are just too strong. Pensions are the big issue for me, in particular the way Cosla basically is just attacking any damn thing it can in teacher's pay and conditions."

Alison Noble, 27, art and design teacher, St Mungo's High, and Denny High, Falkirk

"I'm not very sure which way my vote will be going. My concern is what the parties are going to do with education, to raise attainment, to help bring in the new curriculum and to help with our conditions of work. I can see the broader picture on Curriculum for Excellence and how it will come together, but I would like to see some more guidelines for teachers. On a broader spectrum, one of the main issues I will be thinking about when I go to vote will be how the new Government can stabilise the Scottish economy and really get growth back."

Adam Smith, 24, teacher, Onthank Primary, East Ayrshire

"I'm unsure who to vote for; I'll look at the manifestos but it's probably between SNP and Labour. I'm not thinking much about issues outside education. I want to know what the parties will do to support implementation of Curriculum for Excellence - I hear experienced teachers saying CfE is just reinventing the wheel, and they've been around longer than me - and changes in assessment; it's awkward when we're still using 5-14 approaches. There are a few supply staff in my school, and I'd like something done to make them feel valued. Everyone's anxious about all the cuts."

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