On the naughty step - conduct that deserves a ticking off

14th March 2014 at 00:00
This week: mould

With their stressful lives and relatively low wages, teachers are well known for enjoying a good moan about their working conditions. Everything from low-rent staffroom snacks to the state of the staff toilets and swivel chairs can have teachers reaching for the job section of TES in a fit of rage.

But in Finland, once thought of as an educational nirvana, it seems as though they might really have something to complain about. Although dry, modern buildings may be the rule elsewhere, many Finnish teachers have been driven from their schools by mould.

The problem came to a head this week when a survey from the Finnish teaching union, OAJ, claimed that two-thirds of schools and kindergartens had a problem with mould and damp, and that many teachers had been forced to change jobs owing to health problems.

Children, too, are vulnerable to ill health because of the poor air quality indoors. Sometimes they are even forced to move schools.

The Finnish government has pledged ?50 million (pound;41.7 million) to combat the mildew problem, but it's not enough, school leaders and authorities have said.

So, because it is hard to believe that an educational role model such as Finland hasn't got its fungi in order, it's time to condemn mould to the naughty step. Just watch you don't get a wet bottom.

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