The TES asked delegates at the ATL conference about their biggest concerns: Shirley Barnwell, secondary maths teacher from Cheshire, said the creation of children's services departments would make teachers more vulnerable to malicious allegations. "My former school is a good school but even it had allegations where pupils were witnessed injuring themselves and then blaming teachers. Social workers are more likely to blame teachers."
Bob Skelley, a secondary English teacher from inner London: "The key issue is the curriculum. It is too prescriptive and undervalues the professionalism of teachers."
Hilary Longman, secondary art and design teacher at Claremont Fan Court independent school in Claremont, Surrey, said private school teachers have fewer discipline problems to cope, but a heavier workload. "I work in after-school clubs, at lunchtimes and Saturday mornings. Colleagues in the state system asked to do that would say 'you must be joking'".
Angela Kidd, a primary supply teacher in Telford and Wrekin, said extra money and initiatives to improve behaviour have failed to produce results.
"There should be less tolerance of bad behaviour. Parents and pupils need to be clear about what the boundaries are and what is acceptable behaviour."
Alec Holt, a supply teacher in secondary French and German, in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, said: "Teaching has been taken out of the hands of professionals and given to small committees who don't know what goes on in the classroom."
Elizabeth Lampard teaches at Abbott's Bromley, a private C of E girls'
school in Staffordshire. She said: "God can permeate every aspect of your life but in science lessons the theory of evolution has more to recommend it than creationism."