Most primary teachers and parents agree with the government's plans for reforming the medium of instruction in secondary schools and the method of allocating places, according to a survey. But respondents to the survey, which was conducted last month by the Hong Kong Primary Education Research Association, called for a greater emphasis on improving English skills. The survey asked teachers and parents at 142 primary schools their opinions on suggestions in the consultation document published by the Education Commission in February. It received 430 responses from parents and teachers at 58 schools. Only schools that admitted at least 85 per cent of students able to learn in English would be allowed to remain English-medium schools from 2008. These students are defined as those in the top 40 per cent of the ability range. Slightly more than 50 per cent of respondents agreed with these two points. Virtually all respondents - 98.6 per cent - agreed that schools should have talented teachers of both English and Chinese, regardless of which language was used as the medium of instruction. Nearly three-quarters of the respondents also agreed with the government's controversial mother-tongue instruction policy. About 73 per cent of respondents said they agreed the mother tongue was the most effective medium of instruction. There was more contention when it came to allocating secondary school places. While 90 per cent agreed that the proportion of discretionary places available should increase and almost as many agreed with more freedom to choose the school children attended, more than half disagreed with using the Pre-Secondary One Hong Kong Attainment Test to scale primary schools.