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Crossed;Jotter

One of an education authority's more mundane, but challenging, tasks is to fix the school session patterns each year, otherwise known as teachers' holidays.

This was a slightly more exciting affair in Edinburgh last week when the joint consultative committee for teaching staff convened in solemn session. John Dobie, Edinburgh's head of school holidays, or "education support services", was going through the motions as it were.

He referred to the outcome of consultations with parents who wanted term dates "rebalanced". Schools want more radical changes. George Rubienski, the teacher rep, urged Elizabeth Maginnis, the education chair, to use her influence to adopt a fixed date for the Easter break, irrespective of the fluctuations of the Gregorian calendar.

At this point the chandeliers in the old council chambers began to move perceptibly. Maginnis, sensing the gods' displeasure, recognised that such a decision was beyond even her influence or power of prayer. As such, she recommended referral to a higher place. The education committee will rule on June 5.

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