Where teachers were putting their cross

6th May 2011 at 01:00
As polling stations prepared to open, we contacted our panel of teachers once more to ask how they planned to vote in yesterday's Scottish parliamentary elections

Anne Glen, 43, primary supply teacher, Aberdeenshire

"I'm voting Lib Dem. It was that or SNP; they seem the strongest parties locally. Two things swayed me: I was more impressed with the Lib Dem candidate, Mike Rumbles, at a hustings in Alford; and in a TESS interview last week I read Michael Russell's answer about supply teachers, which didn't offer much hope and seemed pretty brutal. The Lib Dems were also keen on addressing a big funding disparity for the north-east, and, like me, don't like the idea of a single police force. But it's hard to see differences between the parties, and there doesn't seem much understanding of the cuts that are coming."

Paul Laird, 37, modern studies teacher, Leith Academy, Edinburgh

"I'm voting SNP, which is painful because I'm not a huge fan of Curriculum for Excellence or Michael Russell's stubborn refusal to put the brakes on it. But when you look at what they achieved as a minority government, you've got to give them a clean bill of health over the last four years. I don't think you can underestimate two negative things: Iain Gray's ridiculous performance in the Central Station debacle - hiding in Subway - especially when you compare that with how the Conservatives and SNP responded to the same protester; and the difference between Gray and Salmond in the respective Newsnight debates."

Alex McEwan, 57, physics teacher, Vale of Leven Academy, West Dunbartonshire

"I'm voting SNP. When there is anything to choose between the parties, SNP wins it. The issues outside education decided it for me. I don't see how Iain Gray can create 250,000 new jobs and apprenticeships: why do it now when Labour had so much time to do it and didn't? Alex Salmond said everyone benefited from a well-qualified workforce at graduate level. He also said graduates pay over the odds, and yes, we do pay disproportionately more because we earn disproportionately more. I know I could not have led the life I have if I had come out of university with a whopping debt."

Alison Noble, 27, art and design teacher, St Mungo's High, and Denny High, Falkirk

"I'm voting Labour - that's how I and my family traditionally vote. Looking at the policies, there seemed to be a lot of similarities between the parties, but it would be nice to see a change in Scotland. I'd have preferred education to be more at the forefront. I rate it as a really important issue, not just because of my profession, but education plays such a big role in the development of young minds and influences so much. People's focus seems to have been more on the economy and jobs - obviously very important, but I think they could have spoken more about education."

Adam Smith, 24, teacher, Onthank Primary, East Ayrshire

"I still don't know how I'll vote. It's between the SNP and Labour; I won't vote Conservative - I'm a recent graduate and know students will struggle if you make them pay for their education. No one's been talking enough about education - it's been more about the health service and putting police on the streets - so I'll base my decision on other issues. I'm edging towards the SNP, but they made empty promises on class sizes and jobs. That said, when you see The Sun backing Alex Salmond, they must have a reason. Whoever wins, I'd like a big majority so the new government can get things done."

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