On the naughty step. This week: holiday haters

Conduct that deserves a ticking off

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Politicians, commentators and even a number of traitors within the profession's own ranks seem to have teachers' beloved long summer holiday in their sights.

"Historical anomaly!" cry some. "Dangerous amount of time for kids to get bored and perform criminal acts!" shriek others. "Poor children will fall behind because they don't have middle-class parents to take them on interesting and educational trips!" squawk scaremongers.

But we suspect that these concerns - cited by ministers in England and France recently as reasons to trim the summer break - are not the half of it. Behind the holiday-hating seems to lie a suspicion that, despite well- conducted stress and workload surveys showing the contrary, teachers are a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings. Anyone with any experience of the profession knows that this is untrue.

At least two weeks of the summer break are spent planning and marking, which leaves about a month to spend at a gite in Provence. And who would begrudge the people who educate the nation's children that?

Many teachers and principals even interrupt their holidays abroad, flying back to be at school for the horrors and delights of exam results day. And they pay for their own flights.

So, hop on to the naughty step, holiday haters. And don't get down until September.

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