Open up holiday debate;Opinion;Letter

5th February 1999 at 00:00
I WOULD like to point out to Ian Hollingworth (TES Letters, January 29) that his five weeks holiday outside teaching is not actually the norm, and that many clerical grade staff only get four weeks holiday.

Out of this entitlement a parent is required to take days off to look after children who are not in school because teachers are on training days - about four times a year. Holiday is also used for dental and medical appointments, which cannot be slipped into the late afternoon available to most teachers at least once a week.

I accept that teachers have stressful jobs, but a lot of other people also have to face stresses. Finding childcare for the long holidays when parents have only three-and-a-half weeks of holiday left is one of them.

The teaching profession is in danger of losing public sympathy if it continues to argue against change in such an unconstructive and self-regarding way.

Surely the extensive debate on term length, family holidays, childcare and quality family time, should be used to address society as a whole and give everyone guilt-free and stress-free space, and time to enjoy life.

I see why teachers need time off, but teachers should not feel that they have a special case: all workers need more holiday.

Lucia Chaplin 7 Kegworth Avenue Leicester

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