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Wednesday, 20 September, 2000, 09:56 GMT 10:56 UK
Lib Dems pledge more education cash
Children at work in their classroom
Bureaucracy interfering with education?
Liberal Democrat MP Phil Willis has pledged his party to increase funding at every stage of the education system.

We can't have 'education, education, education' without funding, funding, funding; teachers, teachers, teachers; morale, morale, morale

Dr Evan Harris

Mr Willis, MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, and Liberal Democrat education spokesman, also took the opportunity of his conference speech to launch a scathing attack on Education Secretary David Blunkett.

He said that his party was committed to reversing Labour's policy of "centralisation and privatisation".

Mr Willis said the government's approach to education had "all the control freak tendencies of 'Old' Labour without any of the good intentions".

A Liberal Democrat government would increase education funding at all stages, reduce bureaucracy and reduce primary school class sizes to 25, he said.

Education 'failing' pupils in Wales

Jenny Randerson - Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman in the Welsh Assembly - told the conference that education in Wales failed young people.

She said that the number of seven- to 11-year-olds in mixed age classes had increased under Labour.

Jane Mabbutt, 17, from Milton Keynes, told the conference in her debut speech that she was considering a career as a teacher.

She said: "I believe schools are in desperate need of more books."

Prime Minister Tony Blair had stressed the importance of internet access to schools but in her school of 1,700 pupils there was only one computer that could go online, she said.

Summing up, Oxford West and Abingdon MP Dr Evan Harris mocked Mr Blair's claim that Labour had three priorities - 'education, education, education'.

Dr Harris said: "We can't have 'education, education, education' without funding, funding, funding; teachers, teachers, teachers; morale, morale, morale."

The Liberal Democrat delegates overwhelmingly backed the leadership's education policy.

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See also:

19 Sep 00 | Education
Schools 'ignore' parents
04 Jul 00 | Education
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06 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Hague promises to tackle school 'thugs'
19 Sep 00 | Education
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26 Apr 00 | Unions 2000
Cut red tape, say Tories and Lib Dems
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