Heads who win

2nd May 1997 at 01:00
Before rushing blindly into early retirement ("Heads dash to quit early", TES, April 18), primary school heads should pause to consider the pros and cons of taking such drastic action.

My own experience of early retirement has resulted in a daily round of difficult decisions. Should I get up now or enjoy another cup of tea first?

If I decide to get up, should I bask in the sun on the patio for a while or take my usual leisurely stroll along the promenade chatting to all the people I now have time to meet? Which papers, if any, shall I read today? Who can I visit and where should we go? Should I take up that off-peak bargain offer of a holiday abroad?

All these questions, and many more, may have to be faced by primary heads who decide to go early.

Retiring heads must also be prepared to face those poignant reminders of the "days that are no more": the dawn telephone call from the teacher off sick; the early-morning traffic jams; the meaningless mail and mountainous in-tray; the matters pending but rarely "pended"; the endless meetings, awkward questions, impossible decisions and nightmare situations.

Are those who are eager to retire early prepared for such losses?

Sadly, because I have so many other interesting things to do, I do not have the time to offer any impartial advice.

ALAN MILLARD

8 Medina Court Marine Parade West Lee-on-the-Solent Hampshire

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