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Hard to keep up from home;Letter

As a teacher temporarily off the strength because of the demands of a young family, I was glad to see the intitiative reported (TESS last week) from Perth and Kinross council which is set to retrain part-time and supply teachers, many of whom must have been in the same position as myself.

Even a short period away from the classroom makes one feel like a scientist who has not been keeping up with the latest research in his field. Things move so quickly that one becomes out of date. Or at least one feels that way, and self-confidence is a necessary attribute when contemplating a return to work.

Even practising teachers regularly complain about the demands of innovation and the difficulties of keeping abreast of official documents and expectations. At least they have some in-school back-up and a network of colleagues.

But think how quickly the demands of the 5-14 guidelines could overtake the knowledge and experience of an absent teacher, not to mention the changed patterns of management, and now target setting, etc.

Refresher courses are necessary and so is the related boost to self-confidence. Being at home with small children, while greatly rewarding, can narrow one's horizons and make re-entry into the world of work a challenge to character as well as professionalism.

Joan MacLeod

Queensferry Road, Edinburgh

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