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Letters Extra: Boarding a happy ship

In the light of Mr Holbourn's letter `Sick and Tired' (TES 81102), we would like to offer an alternative model to the miserable lifestyle he appeared to have suffered.

Firstly, boarding school life is not for clock watchers. With a combined total of 43 years of working in boarding schools, we think of our lives as being one of challenge, happiness and privilege.

We met working in a boarding school, married soon afterwards and have brought up our family in our home in a boys' boarding house.

Our children have benefited from the space, the facilities and the security of a school campus, whilst we have enjoyed the support and friendship of living in a close-knit working community.

Far from causing us suffering, our life in the boarding school system has given us the opportunity to provide a family-like environment which young people deserve when circumstances dictate that they should live away from home.

We do not allow the school to rule our lives; we have made many friends outside the school, largely through our interests and our children, who attend local schools.

We enjoy regular visits to the theatre, ballet, cinema, restaurants and galleries and often visit family and friends in the vicinity.

No one would suggest that life in the boarding school world is always plain sailing, but which career is? Every day is different with its mixture of highs and lows.

It is undoubtedly true that we work long and sometimes unsocial hours, but with so many advantages it is ultimately a case of "your life is what you make of it" which has enabled us to make our life in the boarding school world such a fulfilling and happy one.

Mike and Penny Spring Sibford School Sibford Ferns Banbury Oxfordnbsp;nbsp;nbsp;

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