What the teachers say;Interview;Maurice Tomlinson, Geoff Ellis, and Dee Dixon-Smith

5th June 1998 at 01:00
Teacher-refs set off for World Cup

Maurice Tomlinson, deputy head of Coulby Newham comprehensive, Middlesbrough: "The World Cup's not really hit us yet, but it will. There's some interest in Gazza not being picked. They're very taken aback, but it's a split view as many of us thought he shouldn't have been transferred here - but that's probably my biased opinion.

"We were all more interested in whether Paul Merson (the Middlesbrough midfielder) would be included in the squad, and he was (this was greeted by cheers down the telephone from Mr Tomlinson's colleagues in the staffroom). He's a bigger local interest as he's home-grown.

"Football's our major winter sport in the school; we've a very good girls' team as well.We expect some of the kids to be more tired as the excitement builds, especially after late-night matches."

Geoff Ellis, head of Woods' Foundation primary, Woodborough, Nottinghamshire: "You can use the World Cup in all sorts of ways. I used Gazza's expulsion as an assembly theme - how one deals with disappointment. The children felt sorry for him but felt Gazza should have taken it a little more maturely.

"The World Cup gives you a little street credibility with the kids, if you can actually talk about it. It gives you contact with them and gains you respect."

"What happens on the field could be used to teach children about disappointment, discipline and training.

"If you want them to get into classical music you start with the Spice Girls."

Dee Dixon-Smith, also a teacher at Woods' Foundation school:"We have evenrescheduled a summer concert just in case England get to the semi-finals, because the children would not come in."

"The sense of camaraderie is great. The World Cup brings people together. It brings the teacher and pupil together on the same level."

Paul Rowinski and Diane Spencer

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