What the delegates said

5th May 2000 at 01:00
Sheila Reed, Nottingham. "David Blunkett impressed me more than I thought he would, but it was performance rather than content.

"The Education Secretary said some schools have to deal with more disruptive kids than others. What he did not admit is that it is the Government's approach that has created that situation. Payments of pound;3,000 per pupil are not going to make that much difference."

Meg Gartside, Rochdale. "In reality he said very little. Mr Blunkett pandered to what we wanted to hear. He made promises about discipline but did not explain how it would work. He acknowledged the importance of early years but did not say that the money is going to the voluntary and private sector rather than nursery schools."

Keith Batty, Wakefield. "I sense that after three years of being idealistic, the Government has had to back down on some things. The announcements on discipline are the first glimmer that the minister is prepared to acknowledge what it is like for teachers. Although I don't think the Government has got the balance right with on and off-site specialist units.

"What was most disappointing were the comments on bureaucracy. Teachers are nowed under because there are not enough teachers. There are not enough because of the perception that they are snowed under - it's a vicious circle."

Gale Hammett, Southampton. "I welcome everything the minister said about parents needing to take responsibility for their children's behaviour. It's the first time I have heard him say that. One problem is the parents you want to see are the ones who never come to parents' evenings and are very difficult to get hold of. Primary schools have lost out again to secondary schools. Only 60 of these new learning support units for my sector is not enough. If we can tackle behaviour problems at primary level, they will not be carried on to secondary schools."

Executive member Hans Ruysseneaers. "David Blunkett's announcements demonstrate that constructive dialogue is preferable to screaming at each other across a distance. The announcements were very general and lean on detail and like most of these things, the devil is in the detail. We will continue our constructive dialogue with the

Government to ensure the plan (for learning support units) works for the benefit of both teachers and pupils."

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