Seven-year itch;Leading Article;Opinion

3rd September 1999 at 01:00
MOSAIC law decreed that the Israelites' land must lie fallow every seventh year. Today, it is Israeli teachers who are rejuvenated by this ancient tradition. They get sabbaticals every seventh year - on two-thirds of their normal salary.

Last year's Green Paper suggested that a similar deal might be offered to teachers in England, but discussions on continuing professional development now taking place in Sanctuary Buildings suggest that Government thinking on paid sabbaticals is at a very early stage.

The proposals contain the mixture of "pressure and support" that we have come to expect from this administration.Ministers are keen that teachers should have a contractual duty to keep themselves up to date; in return they might be guaranteed a sum of money to invest in their professional development.

The unions are wary of such proposals, fearing that teachers will be asked to make a financial contribution. But "individual teacher development accounts" would at least mean that the amount of in-service training a teacher received would be less dependent on the whim of a headteacher or the health of a school's budget. That would represent some progress.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today