Summer hols don't have to be costly

8th June 2007 at 01:00
I wonder whether John Cattermole (TES, May 25) whinges to his classroom assistants (on pound;13,000 per annum) or to any of his school's parents subsisting on benefits about how he cannot afford foreign holidays and how his own son, aged seven, cannot speak Swedish in Sweden because his father is not paid enough.

Be pleased, John, that your global footprint is such a dinky one, and learn to think out of the box of resort-type holidays in high season. Try swapping your home with another teacher. Join the Woodcraft Folk and meet parents and children from across the world at their international camps.

Use youth hostels and keep on camping. As a full-time teacher and single parent with three children, I decided that children's memories and connections with other cultures are more important than possessions.

We have a very old kitchen, a leaking bathroom and an ancient car but we have regular holidays on the nearby Northumberland coast and have visited New Zealand, Portugal and Menorca in the past six years. We go to the Edinburgh festival each year and camp all over. We support a boy in India and receive regular updates on his progress. Keshaba will never visit us and we will never be able to afford to visit him but the link is there, and for my family it is an extremely important one. In the UK we must never forget how rich we really are.

Gina Crowley

Garesfield, Tyne and Wear

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