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What the headteachers say

Cathy Byrne, headteacher of Dane Park primary, Hull "This is the first time that headteachers have ever been recognised as vital, having a rightful importance to the nation as a whole. Schools in disadvantaged circumstances have finally been acknowledged as existing, as has the fact that being a head is a grinding, demanding, all encompassing, many faceted job in which one encounters new difficulties every day."

Rabbi David Radamsky, Immanuel College, an independent Jewish secondary school in Bushey, north London "The conference showed genuine commitment which exists in practice and the new training for heads is the proof of the pudding. This very rigorous and well thought-out training programme for heads will be for the overall benefit of national education."

Anne Steele-Arnett, headteacher of All Saints CE junior school, Maidstone, Kent "It was brilliant. It was good to see the 'men from the ministry' appearing to be so down to earth and valuing individuals."

Jane Simpson, deputy head at Selsdon high school, Croydon "It's nice to hear things that prove that Tony Blair is reinforcing the message that we must all strive for excellence at all levels at work, and must first look for excellence within ourselves to achieve this."

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