What the delegates say

22nd September 2000 at 01:00
Katie Stones, mother of two, Westbury, Wiltshire: "I am concerned that the pressure is being put on children too young. There is a feeling that education in a formal sense starts far too young. Both my children are summer-born so they are at particular risk of that.

"I don't feel so strongly about tuition fees in higher education - I think maybe there's too much emphasis on higher education and not enough on vocational education which needs to be worked up.

"We focus on how to support high-achievers when it could be that people who aren't so suited to the academic curriculum are not having their needs met."

Sue Doughty, prospective parliamentary candidate for Guildford, former teacher now working in IT: "I am very committed to fair funding for all of our children - that should be a right not a privilege.

"In Surrey we feel that the education system is not safe in Tory (council) hands: they are looking for any excuse to close schools. Several have been given closure notices.

"Class sizes are important and fair opportunities for all at universitie. On bureaucracy, if the Government wants people to fill in forms all the time they should include it as a subject in the core curriculum.

"I hink the party's education policy is very balanced, very realistic and practical. I think we have got it right."

Geoff Taylor, school governor in Billericay, Essex: "Teachers would like to be left alone for a bit. They have had a new Education Act every two years for the past 20 years and new education secretaries coming in and trying to make their mark. I think they need a bit of continuity.

"But the most important thing is to get teachers' salaries up. For 20 years they have seen their standard of living reduced year by year."

Anne Gallop, Sutton, school and college governor: "I am very pleased that we have reinforced our educational principles and haven't allowed ourselves to be drawn down the line of new Labour.

"I think they are going in the wrong direction and have a very limited concept of education. The Conservatives seem hell-bent on privatisation.

"It may be necessary for us to compromise on our desire not to have top-up fees, but to allow them in certain circumstances.

"On teachers' pay my view is that good teachers should have their salaries doubled and bad teachers, that we can't get rid of, should have theirs halved.

"Basic skills are absolutely crucial."

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