If Peter Booth Hale wants schools open from 7.30 am to 6pm - why only 6pm?

He will have to think again about staff recruitment and costs.

Ken Baker made a hash of salary talks and found himself paying extra for dinner supervisors when that had been done ex gratia and custom by the teaching staff.

Similarly, so far, British school teachers do a lot of youth work taking sports teams on Saturday mornings especially in the younger half of their careers and school holiday trips, but there comes a point when they prioritise their weekends and holidays to their own families.

The actual bottleneck in teaching is marking the exercises and teachers are not school furniture.

Mr Hale put out a superb bells and whistles programme integrating the youth and library services with schools and churches - definitely no thanks even in nonconformist England - extra caretaking and catering hours and liaison with universities. Splendid! Is he willing to double local taxes to pay for it?

He also made the common error of thinking that because somebody knows a subject - or practises it - they know how to teach it.

In that case why do we need teacher training for schools and instructor training in the forces?

His other peccadillo was to forget that school pupils are conscripts which is where the time wasting frictions and other troubles, resentments and unpaid social work stem from that lead to so many leaving teaching.

In my training year (64-65) one of our lecturers was the chair of education of a major local town and let drop that there were more trained teachers in the country who had left for other jobs as teaching in schools.

As a provocation he also offered that schooling came in after the Ten Hours Act to take the Artful Dodgers off the streets - or in our time to cut dole figures.

Inspiration needs time - even if the odd 30 seconds for an exchange with a particular pupil - which is why 20 centuries ago before unions or national pay rates and curricula, the Talmud notes that classes should not exceed 25 pupils to a teacher.

Frank Adam