Letter: Prepare for the homework snoops

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Sir: Tony Blair says that education is his passion - and what are he and the Labour Party proposing? Nothing short of a "Ministry for Homework", with the power to impose a minimum of 30 minutes' homework per night on primary pupils and 90 minutes on those in secondary schools (report, 13 January).

How will this diktat be enforced? Beware, parents, of the knock on the front door! It may be someone from the Ministry, checking up to make sure that your children are hard at it.

Is that really all that Labour is offering us? I ought to declare an interest as a teacher and one who has set plenty of homework - where appropriate - in his time, and has seen education used as a political football by successive governments, Tory and Labour, since I began my career in the late Sixties.

I really thought that after the experience of the past 17 years under the Tories, Labour might be more sympathetic to us teachers. But no! Yet more "reforms"! No wonder so many of us want to retire early, which the Education Secretary, Gillian Shephard, is about to deny us, even though we have more than paid for this opportunity through our pension contributions..

Where is New Labour's new money coming from? What about the dilapidated state of many schools? The pounds 120m or so saved by abolishing the assisted places scheme is hardly going to stretch that far. Only the Liberal Democrats have been honest enough to say where the money would come from, all pounds 2bn of it, to put our education system right.



The writer is Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Sleaford & North Hykeham