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24th July 2015 at 01:00

Time off should mean what it says

As teachers, we have been dining out on our workload since I joined the profession more than 30 years ago. However, I think we need to acknowledge that we are no longer the only professionals who take work home with them and have no clear cut-off time. Advances in technology mean that many people are still working and emailing late into the evening and during the weekend.

Teaching is, however, the only profession - and I believe the only public service - that has no working hours or holiday allowance. We have both 13 weeks' leave and none; we finish both at 4pm and never.

Isn't it time to create a healthier model for our physical and mental well-being - both of which are usually too far gone to be fully repaired even by the longer breaks from school - by giving teachers a set holiday allowance? In return, weekly working hours could be capped at a reasonable level and the profession could tell the government that its demands simply can't be met without additional staffing.

When not on leave, we could work a normal school day without resentment because we are in "during the holidays", and when we are on leave, we could enjoy guilt-free time off like the rest of the world.

Stephanie Gibson

Headteacher, St Catherine's

Primary School, Surrey

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