GILLIAN GOUGH, of South Wirral, is unhappy about me saying that I did not mind taking my children out of school to go abroad (Independent Traveller, 16 January).

'As a teacher myself, I know only too well the effects of children missing school work. To deliberately take children away from school can be very detrimental to their progress and it is very often the parents who do this who are the first to complain if their children are not keeping up to standard.

'It may be that Mr Barrett's children have not suffered from missing school, but he should not encourage this practice in his articles.'

If my children were at secondary school, I would hesitate to let them miss class; I remember the horrors of being off school for a week with flu and missing out on French subjunctives. However, I think it is possible to lose a couple of weeks at primary school without causing much harm - and occasionally reaping considerable benefit.