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LETTER: Educating the teachers' unions

From Mr David Blunkett, MP

Sir: The General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, Peter Smith, justifies (letter, 17 April) his unwarranted attack on me (which led to John Monks, General Secretary of the TUC, joining in) by stating that my speech at his conference and my press release had diverged, hence leading to the misunderstanding. Mr Smith suggests that my press release said "failing schools would be shut down completely and a new school opened with completely new staff".

I am afraid he is misguided. The press release is readily available to all concerned and does not use the words "completely new staff". Had it done so, then Mr Smith might well have been justified in his personalised attack on me, and others would have been justified in their misunderstanding of my proposal. As it did not, I think that it is important to set the record straight.

Yours sincerely,


MP for Sheffield Brightside


House of Commons

London, SW1

19 April