What the NUT delegates say;Easter Conferences

9th April 1999 at 01:00
Amanda Llewellyn, a science teacher at Evelyn's Community school, Hillingdon, London, said: "Mr Blunkett may have sounded very plausible and good for soundbites, but there are huge discrepancies in the way he was presenting the Green Paper and the reality expressed in the technical document accompanying it. I did a survey in my school and there was majority support for taking industrial action to oppose performance-related pay."

Brenda Williams said she sees little reason to celebrate in the Oxford schools she visits as an advisory teacher. "For the teachers I see, the pressures on them are so great that they can't see things are much better since Labour has been in government."

Peter Laycock, a maths teacher at Folkestone's Channel school, said: "It's now up to us to negotiate. Mr Blunkett said what is proposed in the Green Paper is not set in stone. But I am not convinced that he will accept major change as some of the things he is proposing already sound too rigid."

Bryan Beckingham, Oldham branch secretary and maths teacher at Royton and Crompton secondary school, Oldham, said: "He didn't really deal with the issue that union members are up in arms about, which is performance-related pay. He didn't mention the issue of streaming off the top 10 per cent of kids in inner-city comprehensives. That devalues the comprehensive principle which David Blunkett said he supported before the election. Labour hasn't carried out what it promised; it has carried out many of the things it criticised the Conservatives for doing."

Sue Kortlandt, languages teacher and Havering NUT secretary, said:"It had been trailed that he would offer to delay the implementation of appraisal and I thought that would have shown good faith. He chose not to do that. He really doesn't know how to deal with us. He seems to respond by being aggressive when we have perfectly legitimate concerns. We didn't set out to heckle him and given the strength of feeling there is about the Green Paper, I think people were very restrained."

Keith Venables, educational psychologist, Doncaster: "Blunkett has got a lot of good intentions but he underestimates the dedication of the vast majority of teachers. He's going to undermine the quality of education if he sets teacher against teacher - it's inevitable."

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