Letter: Parents who say down with skool

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The Independent Online
Sir: Margaret Maxwell, in her article on truancy (19 November), says that she understands parents 'keeping children out of school for more than the permitted 10 days per year in order to take package holidays'. Such sympathy for parents who regard their 'dash for the sun' as more important than their children's education is surely misplaced. Would she, I wonder, extend her 'understanding' to the teachers, if they were to behave similarly? I imagine classroom teachers are among those who find the expense of peak-time holidays 'prohibitive', yet they have no choice.

It is clear from the whole tenor of her article that Ms Maxwell, like many people, has never relinquished the negative view of teachers she formed in her schooldays, seeing them as irritating authoritarians who make you work while you would rather be having a good time. Her sympathies are with the kids. She is right that bad teachers increase truancy. The more positive corollary is that good ones prevent it.

By the way, I am not a teacher. I prefer to earn more than twice as much in industry and, now my children have left school, to take my holidays when I choose, at bargain rates.

Yours faithfully,

ROGER BROWN

Newbury, Berkshire

20 November

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