Who said what?

26th December 1997 at 00:00
A compilation of the year's most memorable quotes

"It was the worst case of bullying among small children I had ever come across in my 27 years as teacher. In front of the class, I said to the little boy who had been kicked: 'I will give you a choice. You can either forgive them or you can take this ruler and give them a little smack, once, on the back of their hands ...'" Teacher Brenda Davis on the incident which led to her resignation from Tennyson Road primary school in Luton, Bedfordshire. She went on to find work in a school in Kenya (March).

"Parents may not believe in God, but they know a good education when they see one."

Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye, commenting on the new-found popularity of church schools in the final part of his Channel 4 series on education, School Rules (September).

"I do want to go back to school - but why should I back down for telling the truth?" Schoolgirl Sarah Briggs, 15, who was expelled from Queen Elizabeth's in Mansfield for criticising her school in a local newspaper and refusing to apologise. She was allowed back to school following ministerial intervention: headteacher Nicola Atkin resigned after two inspections confirmed Sarah's initial criticisms (July).

"I was there but not there, if you know what I mean: dreaming of being Secretary of State and dealing with that teacher ... no, I'm only joking. "

David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Education, on his classroom daydreaming (September).

"Like arriving at school, minus the overcooked cabbage and smell of socks, but including, apparently, the ubiquitous headlouse."

Tory MP Owen Paterson's first impressions of the House of Commons (October).

"Education must be a blend of history, science and literature, but with lessons for life. The Internet can't revolutionise education. And if Mr Blair puts it in every school, how do we know some egghead isn't going to invent something new? The Internet is a great soundbite, but I say, what about pens and paper?" DJ Chris Evans talking in The Sunday Times about the Prime Minister's plan to link all schools to the Internet (October).

"The quickest way to increase the nation's IQ would not be by genetic engineering - but by doublingteachers' pay."

Steve Jones, professor of genetics at University College, London, writing in The Daily Telegraph (November).

"Don't let anybody think that we are tough on bad teaching because we don't value teachers. We are tough on bad teaching precisely because we do value good teachers."

Tony Blair at the Labour party conference (September).

"They seem to take notice of someone in overalls."

Tony Bradshaw, head of Pemberton high school in Wigan, on his scheme which allows persistent truants one day a week of work experience in the local Heinz factory, as long as they attend school on the other four days. Mr Bradshaw claimed to have cut truancy levels by 75 per cent (September).

"There is a reluctance on the part of some inspectors to confront a teacher and say: 'Look, I'm sorry, this isn't good enough'."

Chief inspector Chris Woodhead, after being asked if he had introduced a new grading system for teachers because inspectors were not identifying enough bad teachers (July).

"He stood up in front of the Prime Minister and found the text of his speech was all hurdy-gurdy smorgasbord."

An official relating David Blunkett's discovery at Number 10 that a faulty machine had printed his Braille notes in Swedish (June).

"A few months ago there was asuggestion from Jack Straw thatchildren should be tucked up in bed at a particular hour. Presumably, David Blunkett would be going round checking they'd done their homework first."

Robin Squire, then Tory schools minister, on New Labour's homework guidelines (January).

"This is a dream come true . . . I'm going to be able to pick up my four-year-old grandson tomorrow and tell him that he has got a future."

Playwright and Labour supporter Colin Welland on Labour's landslide election victory (May).

"We have an Anneka Rice kind of inspection service: OFSTED dives in, shakes everything up, and helicopters off."

Sir Bryan Nicholson, chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University (January).

"I don't give a monkey's toss for the teachers. It's the children I care about."

Mike Tomlinson, OFSTED head of inspection (February).

"In the year I taught him English, I did spend a lot of time making sure his sentences always had verbs, and I'm sorry to see he's slipped in recent years. But, if he was ill for a day, it was always duller."

Eric Anderson, former housemaster at Fettes College, remembers his former pupil Tony Blair (October).

"The teacher - like the poor bloody infantryman the world over - is caught in the middle, unsure what to believe and what to do."

Chief inspector Chris Woodhead on the battle between politicians and professional educationists for the hearts and minds.

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